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  Palestinian Liberation Front


  Description: Under a five-pointed red star, from left to right, is a green map of Israel and the territories, an AK-47 rifle and a crescent. At bottom, in a semi-circle, are the words "Palestinian Liberation Front."

Explanation: The star symbolizes the group's Marxist-Leninist beginnings. The green map of Israel denotes the aim of eliminating what the group believes to be wrongful rule of Israel. The rifle symbolizes and affirms a commitment to armed struggle. The combination of red, green and black echoes the Palestinian flag and evokes Palestinian nationalism.

| Name Variations | Overview | Focus of Operations | Major Attacks | Leaders | Ideology | Goals | Methods | Sponsors | U.S.- Related Activities |

Name Variations
Palestine Liberation Front

The Palestinian Liberation Front was founded by Muhammad Zaidan (better known as Abu Abbas) and Talat Yaakub in 1977 when they split from the PFLP - GC [link] over its support for Syria in the Lebanese civil war. The group, led by Abu Abbas until he died in captivity in 2003, is best known to Americans for its 1985 hijacking of the Achille Lauro cruise ship, during which the hijackers killed wheelchair-bound Jewish passenger Leon Klinghoffer. In the late 1980s Abbas folded the group into the Palestine Liberation Organization after being elected to the PLO's executive committee. He renounced violence after the Oslo Accords, but with the onset of the second Palestinian intifada resumed terrorist activity - including the murder of an Israeli teenager and an attempted bombing of a bus near Haifa. While partly funded by the Palestinian Authority, the group's major benefactor was Saddam Hussein; the Iraqi dictator sheltered Abbas in Baghdad following the Achille Lauro incident and provided the group with military training and logistical and financial aid. The PLF continues to operate cells in the West Bank and Gaza, but Israeli raids and the death of Abbas have significantly eroded its strength.

Focus of Operations
Israel, Lebanon, Egypt

Major Attacks
  • October 7, 1985: PLF agents hijacked the Italian-owned cruise ship Achille Lauro in the Mediterranean. After holding the crew and passengers hostage for two days, the terrorists murdered disabled American passenger Leon Klinghoffer and threw him overboard.
  • Omar Shibli, aka Abu Ahmed Halab (in Lebanon)
  • Muhammad Zaidan, aka Abu Abbas (captured by U.S. Special Forces in Iraq in April, 2003; died in custody)
  • Talat Yaakub (deceased)
Formerly Communist, but primarily secular and nationalist since the fall of the Soviet Union.

  • Destruction of Israel
  • Establishment a Palestinian state
Paramilitary attacks, hostage-taking against civilian and military targets.

Libya, Iraq, Palestinian Authority

U.S.-Related Activities
  • 2003: Coalition forces apprehended Abu Abbas in Iraq.
  • Designated by the U.S. as a Foreign Terrorist Organization.


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