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El Al Gunman's Family 'Shocked and Confused' by Airport Attack - 2002-07-05


Egyptian authorities have questioned relatives of the gunman in the Los Angeles airport attack. He has been identified as Egyptian-born Hesham Mohammed Hadayet, who has been living in the United States, as a legal resident, for the past 10 years. The suspect's wife and children were visiting relatives in Egypt at the time of the attack.

Egyptian security officials have questioned the father, wife and sister of Hesham Mohammed Hadayet. They refused to speak with reporters. But, the husband of Mr. Hadayet's aunt told reporters in Cairo the family is shocked and confused by the news.

He says Mr. Hadayet had called his father's home in downtown Cairo on July 4 to receive birthday greetings from his family. The uncle, a retired general, has described the 41-year-old Hadayet as gentle and very close to his family and says he had worked as an accountant in a local bank before heading to the United States a decade ago.

At the time of the attack, Mr. Hadayet and his wife and two children had been living in a Los Angeles suburb where he worked as a limousine driver.

Earlier in the day Friday, Egyptian TV interrupted its regular programming to report the gunman in the Los Angeles airport shooting had been identified as an Egyptian. There has been no official Egyptian comment on the attack.

Mr. Hadayet was carrying two guns and a knife when he opened fire at El Al's ticket counter at the Los Angeles airport. He killed two Israeli nationals and wounded seven before security guards for the Israeli airline shot and killed him.

So far, the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation says there is no indication of terrorist involvement. The FBI is investigating possible motives for the attack.

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