Abu Nidal

'abû nidal. Real name: Sabri al-Banna

(Jaffa 1937- 2002) Palestinian politician and guerilla leader. Abu Nidal, whose real name is Sabri l-Banna, has for the last 25 years been one of the figures in the Middle East who has most often changed sides. He has cooperated with the leaders of Iraq, Syria, Saudi Arabia and Libya. A number of conspiracy theories point to him as being on the payroll of Israel's Mossad at times. Being a controversial figure, his forces have proven valuable yet dangerous for many leaders, and his career has been dominated by expulsions and invitations. Abu Nidal has been responsible for terrorist attacks outside the Middle East, too. In recent years Abu Nidal has been far less active, much because he has not had the willing principals he had before.


Last headquartered in Libya with an operational presence in Lebanon in the Al Biqa' (Bekaa Valley) and also several Palestinian refugee camps in coastal areas of Lebanon. Also has a presence in Sudan, Syria, and Iraq, among others, though he was expelled from Syria late in his life and spent his last years in Iraq. Has demonstrated ability to operate over wide area, including the Middle East, Asia, and Europe.

Reports of his death (19/8/2002) vary - Palestinian sources claim he was assassinated, while Iraqi officials claim suicide by shooting himself in the mouth. The Iraqi government even provided post-mortem, death scene pictures (though they are of disputed validity) following his alleged suicide.

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