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al-Sa'iqa Organization

Description

Syrian members of the Ba'athist party were among the original founders of al-Sa'iqa when it was established in 1966. Since its founding, al-Sa'iqa has backed the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO), but its Syrian origin has occasionally hindered its support of a Palestinian state. Al-Sa'iqa is sponsored by the state of Syria.

Leadership

Syrian General Salah Jadid was the first to lead the al-Sa'iqa organization, but he was quickly removed when rival Hafez al-Asad came to power in Syria. Mahmud al-Ma'ayta and Yusuf Zu'ayyin were also among al-Sa'iqa's primary leaders until Hafez al-Asad supporters replaced them in November 1970. In June 1971, Zuhayr Muhsin was appointed Secretary General of the organization, and his brother Majid Muhsin later became the head of operations in Lebanon. In July 1979, Zuhayr Muhsin was assasinated in Cannes and was soon replaced by 'Isam al-Qadi. In the same year, Muhammed Khalifah became Deputy Secretary General, who also served on the Executive Committee of the PLO.

Activities

Al-Sa'iqa carried out its first attack in 1968 when some of its members attacked an Israeli military police headquarters in the Golan Heights area, destroying the building and killing five occupants. The organization's next attack came seven years later in 1975 when two members entered the Beirut International Airport looking for truck and jeeps, but were eventually killed in a gun battle with Army troops.

In February 1979, al-Sa'iqa was suspected for a bombing of a Sheraton Hotel in Cairo, Egypt. In June of the same year, a suspected member of al-Sa'iqa was arrested in Cairo while carrying a suitcase full of explosives. In May 1984, a former member of al-Sa'iqa was found dead in Cyprus; three Syrians were questioned and stated that the man had joined Fatah, a rival faction within the PLO.



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