Federal and local authorities have uncovered new evidence in the bombing that killed a prominent Arab American civil rights leader in Santa Ana 22 years ago today, in one of the first acts of modern-day terrorism in the United States.
The undisclosed evidence, including statements from a now-deceased informant, is not expected to immediately solve the slaying of Alex Odeh, but law enforcement officials familiar with the long-running investigation said the information provided new details about how the attack on the onetime Western regional director of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee was planned and carried out.
The sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity, added that the evidence developed in recent months by the FBI and Los Angeles Police Department in a Joint Terrorism Task Force could help investigators eventually bring charges in the case.
“It just adds more pieces to a puzzle that we have been trying to put together for years,” one source said.
On Wednesday, Odeh’s brother, Sami, said he was cautiously optimistic that the newly disclosed evidence would finally help solve the killing.
Contacted shortly after he had his first face-to-face meeting with case agents in about two years, Sami Odeh said: “They seemed to be optimistic [about the new evidence], and my reading of that is that it might be significant new information.”
Alex Odeh, 41, was killed and seven people were injured Oct. 11, 1985, when a bomb exploded as he opened the door to the committee’s Santa Ana office.
The attack occurred 12 hours after Odeh appeared on a local television broadcast and criticized the news media for linking the Palestine Liberation Organization to the hijacking of the Italian cruise ship Achille Lauro.
Within days of Odeh’s death, the FBI said it believed the militant Jewish Defense League was behind the attack as well as two other bombings months earlier on the East Coast. (MORE)