Burt honours Israeli ambassador shot outside Dorchester Hotel
Burt: "I was honoured to pay my respects at the memorial service today" (Photo: Yakir Zur Photography)
Foreign Minister Alistair Burt has attended a memorial ceremony for a former Israeli ambassador who was shot outside London’s Dorchester Hotel more than 30 years ago.
The ceremony, held today outside the hotel in Mayfair, commemorated the death of Shlomo Argov who was shot in 1982 but died ten years ago from injuries inflicted by the attack. Two of Mr Argov's granddaughters were present at the event.
Mr Argov, who died aged 73 in 2003, was shot in the head at point-blank range by three attackers, said to be affiliated with Abu Nidal's Palestine National Liberation Movement terrorist group. Mr Argov underwent immediate brain surgery and was paralysed for 21 years after the attack.
Mr Burt, the Conservative MP for North East Bedfordshire, said: “Ambassador Argov was a highly respected diplomat with a huge affinity for Britain. I was honoured to pay my respects at the memorial service today.”
Another ceremony was held on Thursday in parliament, attended by speaker John Bercow MP, Mr Argov's family members and the Israeli ambassador to the UK, Daniel Taub. Mr Taub said it was fitting that the ceremony was being held at parliament. "The attack on Ambassador Argov wasn't simply an assault on Israel, it was an assault on Britain – on British soil and on British values.
"Perhaps the deepest and most lasting memorial that we can give to Shlomo Argov, is to continue his work to deepen and strengthen the ties between our countries."
Mr Bercow added: "Upon one thing as democrats and freedom lovers, we should be united and utterly unyielding- and that is the principal that people should be allowed and encouraged to go about their lawful business- without the threat that they will be victims of a monstrous act of barbarity- such as was the tragic experience of Ambassador Argov"
One attacker was shot on the scene by security guards, the other two fled but were later arrested and all were convicted, sentenced to a total of 95 years in jail. Four days after the attack, the Lebanon War began.