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Military


Abu Nidal Organization (ANO)
Fatah Revolutionary Council (FRC)
Arab Revolutionary Brigades (ARB)
Black September (Organization - BSO)
Black June Organization (BJO)
Revolutionary Organization of Socialist Muslims (ROSM)

Description

International terrorist organization formed by Sabri al-Banna that made its initial appearance after a split from PLO in 1974. The rift followed the October 1973 Arab-Israeli War and was between two personalities - Yasir Arafat and al-Banna. Differences emerged over issues of political reconciliation of the Arab-Israeli conflict and of what terrorist targets should/should not be restricted. In fact, the rift between Abu Nidal and Arafat had been so intense that Abu Nidal was sentenced to death, in abstentia, by Arafat. ANO was made up of various functional committees, including political, military, and financial. The group contends that both inter-Arab and intra-Palestinian terrorism are needed to precipitate an all-embracing Arab revolution that alone can lead to the liberation of occupied Palestine. Political objectives include:

  • Place the "armed struggle" against the "Zionist enemy" as the first priority of the Palestine resistance movement.
  • Undermine efforts to negotiate an Israeli-Palestinian peace by terrorizing pro-Arafat Palestinians and by attacking Israeli targets in Europe and the Middle East.
  • Threaten or attack "reactionary" regimes in Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and the Gulf sheikdoms.
  • Affirm Arab commitment to the destruction of Israel.
  • Intimidate those nations currently holding Abu Nidal operatives in prison into releasing them.

    As Abu Nidal's following grew, the group's operations against Palestinian moderates escalated. In April 1978, 130 guerrillas were arrested with Fatah leader Muhammad Da'ud Awdah (Abu Da'ud), who was preparing to disobey Arafat's ordrs and launch operations behind Israeli lines in southern Lebanon. These guerrillas are believed to have been sent by Abu Nidal, seeking to strengthen Fatah leftists and enable them to wrest control of Fatah from Arafat. During the first half of 1978, the Abu Nidal Organization assassinated three prominent PLO officials, who were allies of Arafat. Although a temporary rapprochement took place in 1978, the Abu Nidal Organization continued to target moderate Palestinian elements. When ANO was prominent in the 1980s, its finances were believed to have come from state sponsors, blackmail payments and from its own network of businesses and organizations.

    Activities

    ANO has carried out terrorist attacks in 20 countries, killing or injuring almost 900 persons. Targets include the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Israel, moderate Palestinians, the PLO, and various Arab countries - that hold imprisoned operatives. Major attacks included the Rome and Vienna airports in December 1985, the Neve Shalom synagogue in Istanbul and the Pan Am Flight 73 hijacking in Karachi in September 1986, and the City of Poros day-excursion ship attack in Greece in July 1988. Suspected of assassinating PLO deputy chief Abu Iyad and PLO security chief Abu Hul in Tunis in January 1991. ANO assassinated a Jordanian diplomat in Lebanon in January 1994 and has been linked to the killing of the PLO representative there. Has not attacked Western targets since the late 1980s. ANO activities declined through the 1990s until Abu Nidal (Sabri Khalil al-Banna) was found dead of gunshot wound(s)in his Baghdad apartment in the Summer of 2002.

    Location/Area of Operation

    Al-Banna relocated to Iraq in December 1998. Has an operational presence in Lebanon including in several Palestinian refugee camps. Financial problems and internal disorganization have reduced the group's activities and capabilities. Authorities shut down the ANO's operations in Libya and Egypt in 1999.

    Strength

    Peaked in the late 1980s at about 500 hundred plus limited overseas support structure.

    External Aid

    Has received considerable support, including safehaven, training, logistic assistance, and financial aid from Iraq, Libya, and Syria (until 1987), in addition to close support for selected operations. Abu Nidal was residing in Baghdad at his death in 2002.

    Key Personalities

    Sabri Khalil al-Banna (Abu Nidal) - leader.




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