NEW DELHI—Thirty-one years ago this spring, the world was riveted by a tale of nuclear terrorism called The Fifth Horseman. In this best-selling novel, Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi threatens to explode a three-megaton nuclear bomb hidden under New York City, unless an autonomous Palestinian state is immediately established. The book was so disturbing that French President Valéry Giscard d’Estaing cancelled the sale of nuclear reactors to Libya, even though they were allegedly intended for peaceful purposes.

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