November 13, 2008 -- Twenty-five years after a terror attack at a Paris synagogue, a Canadian professor was arrested today on charges that he was involved in the Oct. 3, 1980 bombing that killed four people and wounded at least 20 others, Canadian authorities told ABC News.
The professor, Hassan Diab, 54, was arrested with the assistance of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police on a provisional arrest warrant and a request for extradition granted to French authorities by a Canadian court, authorities said.
Hassan Diab has denied any involvement in the attack, and his lawyer previously told France's Le Figaro newspaper that the university teacher had never been arrested or accused of a crime.
Diab has by all accounts lived a quiet life in Canada.
That all changed a year ago when reports in French and Canadian newspapers said French authorities suspected Diab was the leader of the group that launched the commando-style attack on the rue Copernic synagogue.
The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-Special Operations group was blamed for the strike, according to authorities.
Diab, who holds dual Canadian and Lebanese citizenship, is a part-time instructor at two prominent Canadian colleges, the University of Ottawa and Carleton University. His lawyer previously told the Ottawa Citizen that Diab has never "been a member of the Palestinian group -- he is a native of Lebanon with dual Canadian citizenship -- or known anyone associated with the group. Nor has he been active with any other militant organizations."
While French authorities called the arrest a final chapter in a long manhunt, Canadian authorities braced for possible public backlash over their willingness to assist in the arrest. The warrant and request for extradition was granted at the request of the Criminal Division of the French authorities under the direction of the Minister of Interior. The formal mechanism in which the Mounties assisted in the extradition of a person with Canadian citizenship is a Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty with France.