Reactions to the death of Abu al-Abbas – 'The Great National Leader' 

Abu al-Abbas was the leader of the "Palestinian Liberation Front" (PLF). The PLF is a terrorist organization which has carried out spectacular and murderous terrorist attacks, one of them being the hijacking of the cruise ship Achille Lauro in 1985. During the time the terrorists controlled the ship, a wheelchair-bound elderly American, Leon Klinghoffer, was shot dead and thrown overboard. After the hijackers surrendered to Egyptian authorities, they put them on a plane to Algeria and freedom, but their plane was intercepted by US fighters and forced to land in Italy. The Italians later released the hijackers.

Since the beginning of the 1990s, Abu al-Abbas and other activists of the PLF leadership resided in Iraq under the protection of Saddam Hussein. He was captured by US forces after the invasion of Iraq and died in prison in Baghdad.
Source: MEMRI -


Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat: "The Palestinian leadership bids farewell to a unique fighter; a national leader who devoted his life to serving his people and his homeland." [1] The Palestinian media also reported that Arafat received condolences on Abu Al-Abbas's death in his presidential office in Ramallah. [2]

A communiqué issued by the Fatah movement: "Fatah announces the death of the great national leader, the Shahid [martyr] Muhammad Abbas – Abu Al-Abbas – the Palestine Liberation Front secretary-general who died a martyr in an American prison in Baghdad under unclear circumstances. Fatah calls for an urgent investigation under international supervision, particularly since Abu Al-Abbas was being held in dangerous and inhumane conditions that directly harmed his life…

"[Our] commitment remains unchanged, and [our] vow remains in force. We continue marching on the path of revolution and of just national struggle until victory is realized and an independent Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital is established. To eternal Paradise, our hero Shahid – Abu Al-Abbas!" [3]

Death notices were published by several top Palestinian officials, among them Rashid Abu Shbak who heads the Preventive Security Apparatus in Gaza. Shbak expressed his deep sorrow "on the death of the great national fighter." [4]

The National and Islamic Forces: "The martyrdom of Abu Al-Abbas will only add to our people and to its national and Islamic determination to continue the struggle in the same path [as he], and to cling to the same goals for which the great commander was martyred." [5]

Abbas's organization, the Palestine Liberation Front: "We bid farewell today to our commander and secretary general, the Shahid Abu Al-Abbas, who played a prominent role in the history of the Palestinian struggle for 40 years, from his youth to his martyrdom. He took part in the various stations [along the way] of the national struggle, by establishing the fighting front and heading it…

Palestine Liberation Front spokesman and political bureau member Dr. Wasel Abu Yousef: "Our front is proud to present its secretary general and its great founding commander as a martyr on the altar of freedom, unity, and common conscience."

Muhammad Zeidan, who told the London –based Arabic daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsat that he had been the personal companion and confidant of Abu Al-Abbas, expressed his hopes that the response to his "assassination" would be the assassination of President George Bush: "Abu Al-Abbas was dearer to me than my home and my wife. I spent the most beautiful days of my struggle for Palestine with him, and from him I learned about resistance and patience." According to the paper, he expressed his personal hopes that the response to the assassination of Abu Al-Abbas would be the killing of President Bush, saying: "If I am charged with carrying out this mission, I will not hesitate. Since I did not succeed in redeeming Abu Al-Abbas during his life, I will redeem him in his death." [6]


[1] Al-Hayat Al-Jadida (Palestinian Authority),March 11, 2003.

[2] to a report in the Israeli daily Yediot Aharonot of March 15, 2004, three members of the Balad party in the Knesset, among them party leader Dr. 'Azmi Bishara, offered condolences to Arafat on Abu Al-Abbas's death. While the Palestinian press noted that Bishara had met with Arafat, there was no mention of the condolences.

[3] Bethlehem demonstration that came in the wake of a call by the Bethlehem District National and Islamic Emergency Committee and the Bethlehem District Prisoners Club took up the cry to establish an independent committee to investigate the circumstances of Abu Al-Abbas's death. Al-Ayyam (PA), March 13, 2004.

[4] Al-Ayyam (PA), March 12, 2004.

[5] Al-Hayat Al-Jadida (PA), March 12, 2004.

[6] Al-Sharq Al-Awsat (London), March 13, 2004.