JTA — French authorities will release a Lebanese man involved in the murder an Israeli diplomat and an American military officer in the 1980s.
A parole board agreed to release George Abdallah, 61, on condition that he is expelled from France by Jan. 14, the French news agency AFP reported on Thursday.
Abdallah was captured in 1984 and sentenced to life in prison in 1987 for the 1982 murders of Yaacov Bar-Simantov and Lt. Col. Charles Robert Ray in Paris.
Bar-Simantov’s killer, a woman wearing a white beret, fled into the Paris Metro after shooting him in the head in front of his wife and children at their apartment building. The diplomat was the second secretary for political affairs at the embassy.
Abdallah shot Ray, an assistant military attache, outside Ray’s apartment building the same year.
The murders were committed in the name of the Lebanese Armed Revolutionary Faction, a group Abdallah founded.
Abdallah was first eligible for parole in 1999, but has failed in seven previous bids to be released.
Abdallah’s lawyer said his client hopes to return to Lebanon and take up a teaching job there.
The U.S. ambassador to France said he hoped that French authorities would appeal the release.
“I am disappointed by the decision today,” Charles Rivkin said in a statement Thursday. “Life imprisonment was the appropriate sentence for Mr Abdallah’s serious crimes, and there is legitimate concern that Mr. Abdallah would continue to represent a danger to the international community if he were allowed to go free.”