Abu Nidal Organisation

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Group.png Abu Nidal Organisation  Rdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
FounderAbu Nidal
Palestinian terrorist group presumed to be an Israeli front.

The Abu Nidal Organisation (ANO) was a terrorist organisation that killed hundreds of Palestinian activists and committed highly public and brutal terrorist operations against Western civilians. Known as one of the most uncompromisingly militant terrorist groups ever, it was also a convenient Israeli front.


The Abu Nidal Organisation (ANO) is the most common name for the 'Palestinian nationalist militant group Fatah – The Revolutionary Council (Fatah al-Majles al-Thawry). The ANO is named after its founder Abu Nidal. It was created by a split from Yasser Arafat's Fatah faction of the PLO in 1974.[1]

Israeli front

According to Abu Nidal's biographer Patrick Searle, the ANO was an Israeli creation. Immediately after the the Israeli death squads Kidon (led by Mike Harari) stopped its assassinations of Palestinian leaders, the ANO took over the operation. According to Searle, it is almost certain leading people in the ANO "secretariat" (command and control) worked for the Israeli intelligence service Mossad. Seale spoke to many Arab intelligence officers, both Palestinian to officers in countries loyal to Israel. They all said Ghassan al-Ali, the man running the ANO, was Mossad[2]


Abu Nidal's first operation took place on September 5, 1973, when five armed men entered the Saudi embassy in Paris, where they took 11 hostages and threatened to blow up the entire building if the authorities did not meet their requirements.

Major attacks included the Rome and Vienna airport attacks in December 1985, the Neve Shalom synagogue in Istanbul, synagogues in Paris and Vienna, and the Pan Am Flight 73 hijacking in Karachi in September 1986, and the City of Poros day-excursion ship attack in Greece in July 1988. The ANO is presumed responsible for the assassination of Heinz Nittel in 1981, a leader of the Austrian Socialist party and the president of the Austrian-Israeli Friendship League.

Attacks on the PLO

The ANO has been especially noted for its uncompromising stance on negotiation with Israel, treating anything less than all-out military struggle against Israel as treachery. This led the group to perform numerous attacks against the PLO, very convenient for Israel. ANO is believed to have assassinated PLO deputy chief Abu Iyad and PLO security chief Abul Hul in Tunis in January 1991. It assassinated a Jordanian diplomat in Lebanon in January 1994 and has been linked to the killing of the PLO representative there. Noted PLO moderate Issam Sartawi was killed by the ANO in 1983. In the late 1970s, the group also made a failed assassination attempt on the present Palestinian president and PLO chairman, Mahmoud Abbas.


Having bases in among other places Libya and Iraq, the ANO managed to significantly infiltrate the Libyan intelligence services.

Abu Nidal himself died of between one and four gunshot wounds in Baghdad in August 2002.[3]

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