Japanese terror group founder released after serving sentence

TOKYO (AP) — Fusako Shigenobu, who co-founded the Japanese Red Army terror group, was released from prison Saturday after serving a 20-year sentence and apologized for hurting innocent people.

“I have a deep feeling that I finally got out alive,” she said, greeted by her daughter and a crowd of reporters and supporters in Tokyo.

“I hurt innocent people I didn’t know by bringing our struggles to the fore. Although these are different times, I would like to take this opportunity to deeply apologize,” said Shigenobu, who wore a black hat. and a gray suit.

Shigenobu was found guilty of orchestrating the 1974 siege of the French Embassy in The Hague, Netherlands. She was arrested in 2000 in Osaka, central Japan, where she was hiding.

The Japanese Red Army, formed in 1971 and linked to Palestinian militants, took responsibility for several attacks, including the takeover of the US consulate in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, in 1975.

The group is also believed to have been behind a 1972 machine gun and grenade attack on the international airport near Tel Aviv, Israel, which killed 28 people, including two terrorists, and injured dozens. of people.

Shigenobu was not physically present in the attacks. A year after her arrest, she declared the group disbanded. Japanese media reported that Shigenobu underwent surgery for cancer while incarcerated.

Kozo Okamoto, who was injured and arrested in the Israeli airport attack, was released in 1985 in a prisoner swap between Israeli and Palestinian forces. He would be in Lebanon. Okamoto and several other members of the group are still wanted by Japanese authorities.

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Yuri Kageyama is on Twitter https://twitter.com/yurikageyama

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