Abbas led the Achille Lauro hijacking, seizing the Italian ship in 1985. The wheelchair bound American tourist, Leon Klinghoffer, was killed and his body thrown overboard. An Italian court sentenced Abbas in absentia to life imprisonment but he never served any time.The Jerusalem Post Hijacker of Achille Lauro Dies in U.S. Custody in IraqWashington Post
On April 3, 2004, the Palestine Liberation Front (PLF) terror group elected a new leader to replace Mohammed Abbas, the mastermind of the Achille Lauro hijacking. Almost a month prior, on March 9, Abbas died in US-custody in Iraq. US officials say he died of natural causes. The group unanimously elected the PLF's second-in-charge Omar Shibli, also known as Abu Ahmed Halab, to replace Abbas, better known as Abul Abbas.