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Poland opens inquiry into 1981 John Paul II death plot

WARSAW — Inves­ti­ga­tors in Poland said Mon­day they have opened an inquiry into a sus­pect­ed plot behind an assas­si­na­tion attempt on late Pol­ish-born Pope John Paul II in 1981.

“The inquiry is not into the attack itself but into a plot by com­mu­nist (secret) ser­vices,” said Ewa Koj of Poland’s Nation­al Remem­brance Insti­tute (IPN), which is charged with pros­e­cut­ing Com­mu­nist and Nazi crimes.

Koj, head of the IPN’s inves­tiga­tive depart­ment in the south­ern city of Katow­ice, told the PAP news agency the inquiry aimed to probe sus­pect­ed involve­ment by sev­er­al coun­tries in plan­ning the assas­si­na­tion attempt on the pope.

The IPN has pre­vi­ous­ly said that it does not have direct proof that Pol­ish Com­mu­nist-era secret police took part in the attack.

Charges that the Sovi­et Union and then-com­mu­nist Bul­gar­ia orga­nized the attack over John Paul’s sup­port for the Sol­i­dar­i­ty trade union move­ment in his native Poland were nev­er proved.

In March, the head of an Ital­ian par­lia­men­tary com­mis­sion accused lead­ers of the for­mer Sovi­et Union of order­ing the assas­si­na­tion bid.

Ital­ian sen­a­tor Pao­lo Guz­zan­ti said the find­ings of the com­mis­sion showed “beyond all rea­son­able doubt” that Moscow’s mil­i­tary secret ser­vice, the GRU, was respon­si­ble for the shoot­ing.

But the com­mis­sion’s con­clu­sions did not receive enough votes from law­mak­ers to be adopt­ed by the Ital­ian par­lia­ment.

Turk­ish hit­man Ali Agca shot and seri­ous­ly wound­ed John Paul II in St Peter’s Square in Rome on May 13, 1981. The pope lat­er for­gave Agca when he met him in prison.

Rus­si­a’s top-secret mil­i­tary intel­li­gence ser­vice has dis­missed as “absolute­ly absurd” accu­sa­tions that Sovi­et agents were involved in the attack.


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