A Dearborn ice cream man — linked by his own words to the torture killings of two Irish soldiers — will appear in federal court July 31 as the United States tries to deport him to his native Lebanon.
Mahmoud Bazzi, 71, was arrested and held last week on an immigration violation, apparently for entering the U.S. 21 years ago with someone else’s passport. He also is a suspect in the 1980 torture killings and the shooting of a third Irish soldier in Lebanon, but he maintains he is innocent. Bazzi told the Free Press that he was forced to confess at the time on television to the shootings by a Lebanese military commander.
Khaalid Walls, spokesman for the Detroit office of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, has said the U.S. is looking at the war crimes allegations. But Bazzi has not been charged in relation to the shooting deaths of Irish privates Derek Smallhorne and Tom Barrett or the wounding of Private John O’Mahony.
In a Free Press article Sunday, O’Mahony and a former war correspondent who is American identified Bazzi as their abductor in Lebanon in 1980. O’Mahony said Bazzi shot him. The former journalist, Steve Hindy of Brooklyn, said Bazzi drove off with the other two soldiers, whose bodies turned up later that day.
The Irish were part of a United Nations peacekeeping mission in Lebanon, which roiled with civil war at the time.