Special Operations forces capture hijacker of Achille Lauro
SPECIAL TO WORLD TRIBUNE.COM
Wednesday, April 16, 2003
The United States has captured the architect of the
1985 piracy of an Italian cruiser in which a U.S. national was killed.
Mohammed Abul Abbas, head of the Palestine Liberation Front, was
captured by U.S. special operations forces during a raid on late Monday in
Baghdad. Abul Abbas, for years harbored by the regime of Iraqi President
Saddam Hussein, led an attack on the Italian cruiser Achille Lauro in 1985
in which a U.S. national was killed.
The U.S. force also captured Abul Abbas aides, weapons and documents
during the raid in Baghdad, Middle East Newsline reported. The aides were not immediately identified.
In 1986, Abul Abbas, 62 and a member of the Palestine Liberation
Organization's Executive Committee, was convicted in absentia by an Italian
court and sentenced to life imprisonment. He never served his sentence.
Abul Abbas's faction also led a coastal raid on the Israeli city of Tel
Aviv in 1990 that targeted the U.S. embassy. After the raid, the Reagan
administration suspended negotiations with the PLO. Abul Abbas, who was on
the PLO's Executive Committee from 1984 until 1991, was allowed to return to
the Gaza Strip to attend PLO sessions in 1996 and 1998.
In 1998, Abul Abbas was invited by Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser
Arafat to settle in the Gaza Strip. Abul Abbas established his insurgency
group in the Palestinian terrorities and promoted the Saddam regime, but
left for Baghdad the following year.