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Carlos the Jackal, who was behind a series of attacks in France in the 1970s and 80s, is on trial again over a deadly shopping center attack in Paris.

The Venezuelan man, whose real name is Ilich Ramirez Sanchez, is already serving two life terms for several killings in the name of Palestinian and communist causes.

Carlos the Jackal was given his nickname when he was one of the world’s most wanted terror suspects.

He spent years on the run before being captured in 1994 in Sudan.

The 67-year-old will appear before three judges in a Paris court on March 13 over a hand grenade attack on a shopping centre in the French capital’s Latin Quarter in September 1974.

Two people were killed and 34 others were injured in the attack.

Ilich Ramirez Sanchez has pleaded not guilty and his lawyer, Isabelle Coutant-Peyre, said the trial was a waste of time and money.

Carlos the Jackal carried out a string of attacks in the 1970s and 80s

“What exactly is the point of having a trial so long after the events?” she said.

However, Georges Holleaux, a lawyer representing the victims, said the families relished the chance to see him in court.

“The victims have been waiting so long for Ramirez to be judged and convicted. Their wounds have never healed,” he said.

In a newspaper interview which he later disavowed, Carlos the Jackal allegedly said he had carried out the attack in a bid to persuade France to release a Japanese communist militant.

Ilich Ramirez Sanchez was dubbed Carlos the Jackal by the press, named after the fictional terrorist in the 1971 Frederick Forsyth novel, The Day of the Jackal, which was turned into a popular movie.

Born in Venezuela, Carlos the Jackal was considered one of the most notorious political terrorists of the 1970s and 80s.

By the age of 24, he had joined the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and began his training as a militant revolutionary.

A few years later, Ilich Ramirez Sanchez launched his first attack – on Joseph Edward Sieff, the then president of the Marks and Spencers retail chain in London. Sieff, a prominent Jewish figure, survived a gunshot wound to the head.

The self-professed “professional revolutionary” has since been found guilty of four bomb attacks in Paris and Marseille in 1982 and 1983, which killed 11 people and injured 150.


Carlos the Jackal was first convicted by a French court 20 years ago, and again in 2011 and 2013. If convicted of first degree murder charges, he could get a third life sentence.

Ilich Ramirez Sanchez was arrested in the Sudanese capital in 1994 by elite French police, 20 years after the first attack for which he was accused.

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Carlos the Jackal, who carried out a string of attacks in the 1970s and 80s, is to go on trial again in France for the murder of two people in 1974.

A self-styled professional revolutionary from Venezuela, Carlos the Jackal is accused of throwing a grenade in Paris that also left 34 people wounded.

The notorious convicted killer’s real name is Ilich Ramirez Sanchez.

After years on the run, Carlos the Jackal was caught in 1994 and jailed for life.

An investigating judge specializing in anti-terror cases had ordered the latest prosecution, Le Figaro reported on October 7.

Ilich Ramirez Sanchez, 64, had admitted carrying out the September 15, 1974, attack on the Drugstore Saint-Germain in an Algerian newspaper five years later, French media said.

Carlos the Jackal carried out a string of attacks in the 1970s and 80s

Carlos the Jackal carried out a string of attacks in the 1970s and 80s (photo AP)

Carlos the Jackal has already been given a life sentence for killing 11 people and wounding another 150 in four attacks dating back to the early 1980s:

  • In March 1982, a bomb exploded on a train between Paris and Toulouse, killing five people and wounding 28
  • A month later a car bomb attack was mounted on an anti-Syrian newspaper in Paris, with one passer-by killed and 60 injured
  • On New Year’s Eve 1983, a bomb on a TGV fast train between Marseille and Paris killed three people and wounded 13
  • A bomb at a Marseille train station killed two

Ilich Ramirez Sanchez has also been linked to several other attacks outside France.

Francoise Rudetzki, head of France’s national victims of crime federation, told France Info radio that the latest move was “a victory for justice, the victims and of being able to get a message to the terrorists”.

Whatever the period of time, there would be no escape and they would have to answer for their actions, she said.