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Sabri al Banna
Abu Nidal's legend relied
as much on rumors as on
his acts of violence.



By Sast Report Correspondants


It is widely believed that Abu Nidal has met a violent, mysterious end in Baghdad - one worthy of his life.

In August 2002 it was reported by Arab media that Abu Nidal was found shot dead under "mysterious conditions" at his home in Baghdad, Iraq, and may have committed suicide.

Iraqi authorities claimed that he had entered Iraq illegally, and when discovered by officials, he shot himself.

But Abu Nidal followers insist that he died of multiple gunshot wounds. This would be a remarkable suicidal feat - even for a man of Abu Nidal's ingenuity.

In a shadowy world, the world of spies, the world of assassinations - the world of espionage - it is not easy to get at the facts.

Abu Nidal, whose real name is Sabri al-Banna, broke off from the Palestine Liberation Organisation, headed by Yasser Arafat, in the 1970s.

He headed the Fatah Revolutionary Council, which is suspected of carrying out a series of attacks in Europe and the Middle East. He has been responsible for countless deaths and acts of destruction. Yet little is known about him or his organization.

Cooperating with the leaders of Iraq, Syria, Libya, and European governments and their intelligence agencies, he has always been a controversial figure, and since his forces have proven valuable (if dangerous) for many leaders, his career has been dominated by both expulsions and invitations.

However, Governments actually paid him a lot of money, just to leave their people alone. Abu Nidal would test their will and undermine them slowly with subversion and limited wars and probe for power vacuums, created by political or military weaknesses.

What remains to be answered is the question where they got all the money they paid Abu Nidal.

The Abu Nidal organization, has been described by the US State Department as "the most dangerous terrorist organisation in existence."

America says the group is responsible for about 900 deaths and is still in the terrorist business, but that it has been much less active in recent years due to a shortage of funds.



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