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Palestine Liberation Organization: Terrorist Attacks Attributed to Abu Nidal

(1972 - 1997)

Abu Nidal was one of the world’s most ruthless terrorist leaders through the late 1990s. Primarily active in the 1970s and 1980s on the ultra-hardline fringe of the Palestine Liberation Organization and later the rejectionist front, Abu Nidal targeted Arab politicians and activists who were "soft" on the Israeli issue. Jews of all nationalities as well as political representatives of Western nations were also targets, especially those involved in the peace process in the Middle East.


  • September 5, 1972: Abu Nidal is believed to have been involved in the planning of the Munich massacre at the 1972 Summer Olympics.


  • September 5, 1973: Occupation of the Saudi embassy in Paris, in order to gain the release of Abu Daoud, then imprisoned in Jordan.
  • November 25, 1973: KLM flight from Beirut to New York and Tokyo hijacked over Iraqi airspace and diverted to Nicosia, Cyprus, then Valletta, Malta. Passengers and crew released. Claimed by the Arab Nationalist Youth Organization.


  • September 8, 1974: Bombing of TWA Flight 841. All 79 passengers died.
  • October 1974: Aborted assassination attempt on Yasser Arafat and Mahmoud Abbas. Following this he is sentenced to death in absentia by the PLO council. It is at this point that he founds the independent Abu Nidal Organisation.
  • November 22, 1974: British Airways flight from London to the Far East hijacked in Dubai and diverted to Tunis. One passenger was killed. The hijackers were allowed to fly to Libya.


  • September 1976: Attack and takeover of the Semiramis Hotel, Damascus, Syria. Two of the captured attackers were later hanged in public.
  • October 11, 1976: Attacks on the Syrian embassies in Islamabad, Pakistan, and Rome, Italy.
  • November 17, 1976: ANO fighters stormed the Intercontinental Hotel in Amman, Jordan, taking several hostages. The hotel was stormed in turn by Jordanaian security forces, and three gunmen, two soldiers and two civilians were killed. The remaining attackers were executed shortly afterwards.
  • December 1, 1976: Syrian foreign minister Abdul Halim Khaddam is shot and wounded in an attack on his car in Damascus.
  • December 13, 1976: Foiled attack on the Syrian embassy in Istanbul.


  • October 1977: Second assassination attempt on Khaddam at Abu Dhabi airport, during which the foreign minister of the United Arab Emirates is killed by accident.
  • November 15, 1977: Assassination of the director of the Arab Library, Paris.


  • January 4, 1978: Assassination of Said Hammami, PLO representative in London, Great Britain.
  • February 18, 1978: Egyptian journalist Youssef al-Seba’i killed whilst acting as president of the Conference of the Organization for the Solidarity with the Peoples of Africa, Asia and Latin America.
  • June 15, 1978: Assassination of Ali Yassin, PLO representative in Kuwait.
  • August 3, 1978: Izz al-Din al-Kalak, PLO representative to Paris, France is assassinated along with an assistant.
  • August 5, 1978: PLO offices in Islamabad, Pakistan are attacked.
  • 1978: Assassination of PLO representative in Rome, Italy.
  • 1978: Assassination of PLO representative in Madrid.
  • 1978: Assassination of PLO representative in Brussels, Belgium.


  • January, 17, 1980: Yussouf Mubarak, director of the Palestinian library-shop, is assassinated in Paris, France.
  • July 27, 1980: Attack with 2 hand grenades on Jewish group of boys going to Aguda Holiday Camp Antwerp, Belgium. (Killing one 14 year old and wounding over 20 boys)
  • July 27, 1980: Claims responsibility for murder of Israeli commercial attachee in Brussels.


  • February 6, 1981: Hisham Muheissen, the Jordanian charge d’affairs in Beirut was kidnapped and three of his bodyguards killed by unidentified attackers, later believed to be ANO. Mulheissen was released unharmed 67 days later.
  • May 1, 1981: Assassination of councilman Heinz Nittel in Vienna, Austria. Nittel was President of the Austrian-Israeli Friendship Association and had been involved in the peace process in Israel.
  • June 1, 1981: Killing of Naim Khader, the PLO’s representative in Belgium.
  • August 1, 1981: A series of bombings damage several French banks and businesses, the Air France office and the Saudi Arabian embassy in Beirut, but no one is seriously hurt.
  • August 29, 1981: Three men attacked a Vienna synagogue with machine guns. Two civilians were killed and 23 wounded, including 3 policemen. The attackers were arrested and imprisoned.
  • September 4, 1981: The French ambassdor to Lebanon, Louis Delamare, was assassinated on a Beirut street in a bungled kidnap attempt.
  • September 23, 1981: Five Greek Cypriots are injured in a grenade attack on shipping offices in Limassol.
  • October 6, 1981: PLO officer Majed Abu Sharar was assassinated by a bomb hidden in his hotel room in Rome, Italy. ANO claimed he was compromising the principles of the revolution.
  • November 7, 1981: A kidnap attempt on a Saudi Arabian diplomat is foiled in Beirut.


  • June 3, 1982: Attempted assassination in London of Shlomo Argov, Israeli ambassador to the United Kingdom. The Israeli government blamed the PLO for the attack, and this was one of the incidents which provoked a large-scale invasion of Lebanon on June 6. Argov was permanently disabled and died of his injures 21 years later.
  • June 4, 1982: A Kuwaiti diplomat is assassinated outside his home in New Delhi, India.
  • July 7, 1982: A Jordanian diplomat was assassinated and another seriously injured in an attack on an Athens street in Greece.
  • August 9, 1982: Gun and grenade Attack on Goldenberg Restaurant in Jewish quarter of Paris, France leaves six dead, 22 wounded.
  • August 26, 1982: Two failed assassination attempts - on the United Arab Emirates consul in Bombay and a Kuwaiti diplomat in Karachi, Pakistan.
  • September 16, 1982: Kuwaiti diplomat Najeed Sayed al-Rafaia was assassinated in Madrid, Spain when he was mistaken for the ambassador.
  • September 18, 1982: Four people are wounded when a synagogue in Brussels is attacked in a “shoot and run” incident.
  • October 9, 1982: Attack with grenades and machine-guns on the central synagogue in Rome, Italy. A child dies, ten people are injured.
  • 1982: Assassination of PLO official in Madrid, Spain.


  • April 10, 1983: Noted PLO dove and Arafat aide Issam Sartawi is killed at the Socialist International conference in Albufeira, Portugal.
  • August 29, 1983: A French aircraft was hijacked from Vienna, Austria and taken to Tehran. No one was hurt in the incident.
  • September 23, 1983: Bombing of Gulf Air Flight 771. 117 people killed.
  • October 26, 1983: Jordanian ambassador to India was shot six times in an ambush in New Delhi, but survived his injuries.
  • October 27, 1983: The Jordanian ambassador to Italy was shot and wounded along with his driver during an ambush by two gunmen in Rome. Both men survived.
  • November 7, 1983: Attack on the Jordanian embassy in Athens, Greece. A guard is killed.
  • December 26, 1983: Two people are injured by a bomb explosion outside a Marks and Spencers department store in London, England. The Provisional Irish Republican Army are blamed, but it later emerges that the ANO is responsible.
  • December 1983: Accused of responsibility for the bombing of the French Cultural Center in İzmir, Turkey.
  • December 29, 1983: The Jordanian ambassador to Spain is assassinated in Madrid.
  • 1983: Attack on the Jordanian ambassador to Italy, in Rome, who survives.


  • February 8, 1984: The United Arab Emirates’ ambassador to France, Khalifa Abdel Aziz al-Mubarak, was assassinated on a Paris street.
  • March 28, 1984: British Cultural Attache Kenneth Whitty was assassinated on an Athens street in Greece by a single gunman.
  • March 7, 1984: Three were killed and nine injured in the bombing of a civilian bus in Ashdod, Israel.
  • March 24, 1984: In Amman, a bomb was found and removed at the Intercontinental Hotel, coinciding with the visit of Queen Elizabeth II to Jordan.
  • April 2, 1984: 48 people are wounded by a machine gun attack on a crowded shopping mall in Jerusalem, Israel.
  • May 24, 1984: Bomb explodes in an Athens restaurant, no one is hurt.
  • June 5, 1984: Assassination attempt on Israeli diplomat in Cairo, Egypt.
  • October 4, 1984: A car bomb exploded in the Iraeli embassy car park in Nicosia, Cyprus. One person was hurt.
  • October 4, 1984: An Israeli intelligence agent was killed with four other people in an ambush on a Beirut street.
  • October, 26, 1984: The attempted assassination of a senior UAE diplomat in Rome, Italy, leaves him in a coma and a woman bystander dead.
  • November 28, 1984: Percy Norris, British Deputy High Commissioner in Bombay, India, is shot and killed by an unidentified gunman as he drove through traffic.
  • November 29, 1984: British Airways’ offices in Beirut, Lebanon, are bombed.
  • November 1984: Attempted assassination of Jordanian diplomat in Greece.
  • December 4, 1984: Kills a Jordanian diplomat in Bucharest, Romania, using the name Black September.
  • December 26, 1984: Bombing of the home of veteran Fatah and PLO leader Hani al-Hassan (a.k.a Abu Tariq, Abu al-Hassan), in Amman, Jordan. Uses the name Black September.
  • December 29, 1984: Assassination in Amman, Jordan of former Hebron mayor and West Bank moderate Fahd Qawasma, who had previously been deported by Israel for alleged incitement to violence; in Amman, Jordan; uses the name Black September.
  • 1984: Assassination of Jordanian ambassador in India.
  • 1984: Assassination of Jordanian ambassador in Spain.
  • 1984: Assassination of Jordanian ambassador in Italy.


  • March 25, 1985: British journalist Alec Collett, working for the UN, was kidnapped in Beirut, Lebanon along with an Austrian who was soon released. On the 23 April 1986, he was hanged in revenge for Operation El Dorado Canyon.
  • March 21, 1985: Bombing of the Royal Jordanian Airlines (ALIA) offices in Rome, Italy, under the name Black September.
  • March 21, 1985: Bombing of the Royal Jordanian Airlines (ALIA) offices in Athens, Greece, under the name Black September.
  • March 21, 1985: Bombing of the Royal Jordanian Airlines (ALIA) offices in Nicosia, Cyprus, under the name Black September.
  • April 3, 1985: Rocket attack on ALIA airliner taking off from Athens Airport. Miraculously, no casualties.
  • April 4, 1985: Rocket attack against Jordanian embassy in Italy.
  • May 1, 1985: An assassination attempt on a Kuwaiti newspaper editor believed to be soft on Israel failed.
  • July 11, 1985: Eleven people were killed and 90 injured in two large bomb explosions in cafes in Kuwait City. Amongst the dead was the target of the bombings, the head of Kuwait’s investigative branch of the police. A third bomb was successfully defused.
  • July 7, 1985: A yacht carrying French and Belgian Jews is hijacked off the Gaza Strip and sailed to Libya with eight civilian hostages. These people are then used as “bargaining chips” in Libyan dealings with France, and Abud Nidal dealing with Belgium, until they are all released in 1990. Abu Nidal takes responsibility for this act in November 1987 (Silco incident).
  • July 22, 1985: Failed bombing of the US embassy in Egypt.
  • July 21, 1985: A Kuwati Airlines office was destroyed in Beirut. No one was hurt.
  • July 24, 1985: Jordanian diplomat Zayed Sati was assassinated in Istanbul, Turkey.
  • July 1985: Bombing of the British Airways office in Madrid, Spain. One person killed, 27 wounded. Near simultaneous attack on ALIA offices nearby, with two wounded.
  • September 16, 1985: Grenades were thown into a popular tourist attraction, the Cafe de Paris in Rome, Italy, wounding 38 people.
  • November 1985: Hijacking of EgyptAir Flight 648 at Malta. Resolved after Egyptian commandos stormed the plane slaying the hijackers, although 58 of the 91 passengers died.
  • October 7, 1985: Eleven people were injured by a bomb which exploded in a residential building in Jerusalem.
  • November 20, 1985: Two Palestinians were assassinated in Jordan by ANO because they were apparently associated with Yasser Arafat.
  • December 19, 1985: A courtroom in Nantes, France was held hostage by a gunman for several hours in a symbolic protest. No one was hurt.
  • December 27, 1985: Attacks on Israeli El Al airport counters in Rome and Vienna. 18 dead, 111 wounded.
  • 1985: Bombing of British Airways office in Madrid, Spain, killing one.
  • 1985: Attack on resort hotel in Athens, Greece. 13 wounded.


  • March 28, 1986: Two professors working in Beirut, Leigh Douglas, British and Philip Padfield, American, were kidnapped by ANO operatives. Both were executed on the 17 April in a reprisal for Operation El Dorado Canyon.
  • April 2, 1986: Four people are killed in the bombing of TWA Flight 840 over Corfu.
  • April 17, 1986: British journalist John McCarthy was kidnapped in Beirut in response to Operation El Dorado Canyon. He was released in 1991.
  • April 27, 1986: British tourist Paul Appelby was abducted and murdered in Jerusalem.
  • May 27, 1986: One person was killed and five injured in six bomb attacks on Saudi Airlines and Pan Am offices in Karachi, Pakistan.
  • June 21, 1986: A rocket attack on the Iraqi embassy in Vienna, Austria was foiled.
  • September 5, 1986: 19 people killed during the hijacking of Pan Am Flight 73 in Karachi.
  • September 6 1986: Gunmen stormed the Neve Shalom synagogue in Istanbul, Turkey during the Sabbath. They shot 22 people dead and set fire to the building before being killed in the (possibly deliberate) detonation of a grenade.
  • September 11, 1986: Syrian executive of the International Lions Club, Victor Kano, was kidnapped in Beirut, but later released unharmed.
  • November 5, 1986: Rockets hit the Romanian embassies in Bahrain and Lebanon in protest at the Romanian support for the peace process. No one was hurt.


  • January 19, 1987: Two Israeli youths were non-fatally stabbed in Jerusalem, apparently after stumbling upon some ANO operatives by accident.
  • March 5, 1987: Two Palestinian men were abducted and hanged in Turkey on unproven “charges” of being Jordanian secret agents.


  • February 5, 1988: Two Scandinavian aid workers were kidnapped in Beirut and released a month later.
  • March 23, 1988: A man fired on a bus in Bombay, India, which was carrying an Alitalia flight crew. One person wounded. Two days later, grenades were discovered and removed from the Saudi Arabian consulate in the city.
  • May 15, 1988: Simultaneous gun and grenade attacks on the Acropole Hotel and the Sudan Club in Khartoum aimed at Western diplomats and their families. Four Britons, three Americans and two Sudanese killed, 21 people wounded.
  • May 11, 1988: A large truck bomb explodes close to the Israeli embassy in Nicosia, Cyprus. The driver is one of the three people killed, apparently when an accomplise remotely detonated the device early. 19 people were injured.
  • July 11, 1988: A car bomb explodes prematurely at a pier in Athens, killing two ANO members. This is followed by an attack on the cruise ship City of Poros, which leaves nine dead and 98 wounded.
  • August 20, 1988: 25 people are injured in a hand grenade explosion at a shopping centre in Haifa, Israel.
  • November 17, 1988: A Swiss Red Cross worker was kidnapped in Sidon, Lebanon, and held for a month before being released unharmed.
  • 1988: Car bomb outside the Israeli embassy in Cyprus. Three dead.


  • January 4, 1989: A Saudi diplomat, Salah Al-Maliki, is killed and another man injured near the embassy in Bangkok, Thailand.
  • March 29, 1989: Two Muslim clerics opposed to the Salman Rushdie fatwah were assassinated in a mosque in Brussels, Belgium.
  • October 4, 1989: Dr. Joseph Wybran, a Belgian Jew and peace activist, was assassinated in Brussels.
  • October 6, 1989: Two Swiss Red Cross workers were kidnapped in Beirut. Both were released unharmed in August 1990.
  • 1989: Orders a purge of the ANO/Fatah-RC. 150 members are believed to have been tied up and machine-gunned.


  • July 25, 1990: A prominent member of the Israeli community in Lima, Peru was seriously wounded in an assassination attempt.
  • October 12, 1990: An Egyptian politician was shot and killed in Cairo. Egyptian and Iraqi backed ANO forces believed responsible.


  • January 14, 1991: Assassination in Tunis of Abu Iyad, a top-ranking Fatah leader, who was Arafat’s closest aide and the PLO’s second-in-command. Also killed is the PLO Western (Israel) Sector commander Abu Hul and one of their bodyguards.
  • October 29, 1991: A rocket struck the US Embassy compound in Beirut. No one was hurt.


  • June 8, 1992: PLO officer Atef Besiso was assassinated in Paris. ANO claimed credit, but PLO statement accused Mossad.
  • June 30, 1992: Four PLO fighters were assassinated in a co-ordinated ambush in Sidon, Lebanon. One of the dead was Anwar Madi, PLO commander in Southern Lebanon.


  • November 15, 1993: A PLO official was assassinated in Sidon, Lebanon.


  • January 29, 1994: Assassination of Naeb Imran Maaytah, Jordanian diplomat, on a Beirut street. Jordanian authorities hinted that the ANO conducted this attack on behalf of Libya.


  • 1997: Killing of two ANO/Fatah-RC members in Lebanon over accusations of embezzlement.
  • 1997: Accused of assassinating Egyptian Islamist Sheikh Moutaleb in Yemen.

Sources: Wikipedia