Monsignor Hilarion Capucci, who was an archbishop in Jerusalem when Israel convicted him in 1976 of using his diplomatic status to smuggle arms to Palestinian militants in the occupied West Bank, has died at the age of 94, the VOA (Voice of America) News website reports today (January 2, 2017).
The Vatican today confirmed reports that Capucci had died in Rome, but provided no details, including when he died.
A native of Aleppo, Syria, the Greek Catholic archbishop had a history of activism linked to the Palestinian and other Middle East conflicts when Yasser Arafat headed the PLO (Palestinian Liberation Organization). Israeli police had found military weapons in the trunk of his car that he planned to give to Palestinian militants in the 1970s -- an incredible situation for a cleric that made world headlines at that time.
After he served two years in an Israeli prison for the conviction, he was released due to Vatican intervention and deported.