Wounded Jackal defends record of family values

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SICK of reports that he was an overweight, alcoholic, philandering, has-been bomber, Carlos the terrorist told a French newspaper yesterday that he was 'above all a family man'.

InfoMatin of Paris carried a statement from Ilich Ramirez Sanchez, Carlos's real name, putting the record straight. Carlos, 44, detained in La Sante prison, where he was placed after he was flown from Sudan to France on 15 August, said he was 'kidnapped in pure Mafia style' in Khartoum. Commenting on reports on his lifestyle, he said that 'instead of trying to kill me physically, a moral assassination is under way. I don't understand why.'

Carlos, wanted for a string of attacks in which 83 people died, asked: 'Why are they trying to make out that I am an alcoholic? All that is wrong, I have never been a drinker, as some would like to make out.'

One of the attacks killed five people on board the main Paris-Toulouse express, when a bomb exploded near a seat which had been reserved for Jacques Chirac, the leader of the Gaullist RPR party.

Carlos denied he had wanted to kill Mr Chirac and gave the Gaullist presidential hopeful some words of encouragement. 'I never had any such idea. For the simple reason that I have always respected Jacques Chirac and his political line and also because, at the time, I considered him the best candidate for the presidency.'

He denied that he had been about to undergo a liposuction operation to trim his waistline when French agents, exploiting the anaesthetic, took him to a waiting French aircraft. 'Why do they say I had a liposuction when I had gone to hospital to be operated on for a varicocele?' (a varicose vein leading to a testicle) he lamented.

His personality, Carlos explained, was simple. 'Above all I am a family man. My wife and my daughter live as normally as you can in Venezuela with my own family. They live in a house just next to that of my mother.'

Magdalena Kopp, Carlos's wife, was a German urban guerrilla. She served time in a French jail for possession of explosives, before settling down with the Venezuelan terrorist.