FBI agents investigating a possible link between the arrest of a Japanese man carrying pipe bombs on the New Jersey Turnpike and the fatal bombing of a USO club in Naples went to Italy on Saturday, officials said.
Forensics experts and other FBI agents traveled to Italy at the request of Italian authorities, who believe the bombing there was carried out by members of Japan's terrorist Red Army, said FBI agent Jeff Maynard in Washington.Yu Kikumura, identified by the Japanese foreign ministry as a suspected Red Army member, was arrested Tuesday at a New Jersey Turnpike service area in Ridgefield after a state trooper found three sophisticated homemade bombs and falsified papers in his possession, authorities said.
On Thursday, a bomb planted in a car and parked at the USO Club in Naples exploded, killing five people, including an American service-woman.
FBI bomb experts were attempting to learn if the explosive used in the Naples bombing was the same as that found in New Jersey, authorities said.
"There is a lot of interest in this," Maynard said. "It would be common sense for us to look into it to see if there is any connection."
Kikumura, 35, was ordered held without bail Friday by a U.S. magistrate in Newark.
He was charged with using a fraudulent visa to enter the country, and possession of firearms. A preliminary hearing was set for April 25.
Authorities with the FBI and U.S. Attorney's office have refused to discuss any information they may have about where Kikumura was headed at the time of his arrest.
They also declined to comment on a report in Saturday's editions of The New York Times that suggested Kikumura might have been headed for a meeting of finance ministers of the world's seven major industrial democracies in Washington. The ministers, sometimes referred to as the Group of Seven, ended their meeting Wednesday.
"There are all sorts of press reports and we're not going to comment on any of them," said Jim Knights, an FBI spokesman in Newark.
The Red Army claimed responsibility for bomb and rocket attacks last June 9 on the U.S. and British embassies in Rome while while the leaders of seven Western nations were holding their annual summit in Venice.