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Palestine Liberation Front (PLF)

This terrorist group that broke away from the PFLP-GC in mid-1970s. Later split again into pro-PLO, pro-Syrian, and pro-Libyan factions. Pro-PLO faction led by Muhammad Abbas (Abu Abbas), who became member of PLO Executive Committee in 1984 but left it in 1991.

The Abu Abbas-led faction has carried out attacks against Israel. Abu Abbas planned the 1985 hijacking of the Italian cruise liner Achille Lauro in the eastern Mediterranean Sea. In the course of that hijacking a wheelchair-bound American citizen, Leon Klinghoffer, was murdered. A warrant for Abu Abbas's arrest was outstanding in Italy. Coalition special operations personnel in Baghdad captured Palestinian terrorist Abu Abbas 14 April 2003. Palestinian terrorist Abu Abbas died on 08 March 2004. Initial reports indicated that he died of natural causes. Efforts by medical personnel to revive him were unsuccessful.

This PLO faction was based in Tunisia until the Achille Lauro attack. Based in Iraq until early 2003. For many years, Saddam Hussein provided a safe haven for Abbas and the terrorist organization he led, the Palestine Liberation Front. It had received support mainly from Iraq, has received support from Libya in the past.

Although anecdotal information suggests the Palestine Liberation Front (PLF) remaind in existence, with representatives stationed here in Damascus, there was no information on terrorist activities the PLF engaged in between 2003 and 2008, nor is there any information on the intent of the PLF to engage in terrorist activity. Some evidence suggests that even if there was intent to undertake terrorist operations, the organization did not have the means to do so.

Various sources report a small, residual PLF presence in Syria but suggest that the organization is "dormant" and "broke" as of 2008. On June 18, a Norwegian diplomatic contact reported that the head of the Popular Palestinian Struggle Front (PPSF), Khaled Abed Al-Majed, confirmed the existence of the PLF in Syria but noted that the organization's membership is limited. Mohamed Al Batal, a representative of the Palestine Liberation Organization, also confirmed the existence of PLF members in Syria but was unable to offer further details on the organization.

As of July 2005, the PLF had an office in Damascus located on al-Rawda Street in the al-Shami building, on the first floor, across from the Argentine Embassy, according to a Swedish government service. The office was used by Syrian arms dealer Munzir al-Qassar to issue Iraqi passports. As of early 2004, the PLF faced dire financial circumstances. The group comprised of less than 100 full-time members at that time, and it is most likely has not increased its membership since 2004.

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Page last modified: 26-03-2012 18:42:19 ZULU