Abu Nidal ("father of the struggle") in Arabic., was born Sabri al-Banna in 1937 in British-ruled Palestine. His family fled to the West Bank during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, when he was eleven. In the 1950s he joined the Arab nationalist Ba'ath Party, whose motto is "Unity, Freedom, Socialism." In 1967 he joined the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), and for awhile he represented the Yasser Arafat-led Fatah faction, first in Sudan and later in Iraq.
Under the name "Black September," Nidal and a group of accomplices were responsible for the infamous "Munich massacre during the September 1972 Olympic games in Germany, when they kidnapped and murdered eleven Israeli athletes and officials as well as a German police officer.
By 1974 the PLO had begun land-for-peace negotiations with the Jewish state, proposing the creation of a national authority in the West Bank and Gaza Strip as an interim step toward eventual Palestinian statehood. Such bargaining and political incrementalism was anathema to Nidal, who rejected Israel's right to exist and committed himself to its annihilation by any means necessary, preferably "armed struggle."
This philosophical and strategic break with the PLO prompted Nidal in 1974 to form, with help from Iraq, his own organization, the Fatah Revolutionary Council, a.k.a. the Abu Nidal Organization (as well as the numerous alternate names listed above). ANO's first order of business was to launch a series of attacks against the PLO itself. Many of ANO's early targets were Palestinians whose political views were at odds with Nidal's. (At a 1974 tribunal, the PLO condemned Nidal as an extremist and sentenced him to death in absentia.) ANO made two unsuccessful attempts to have Arafat assassinated, but did manage to kill a number of Arafat's confidants (including the 1991 murder of Arafat's closest aide in Tunisia) and other ostensibly "moderate" Palestinians.
Over time, the Abu Nidal Organization became one of the most violent Palestinian groups in the world, perpetrating terror attacks in more than twenty countries, killing or maiming almost 900 people in the process. Among its most infamous attacks were the deadly December 27, 1985 shootings in the Rome and Vienna airports. In Rome, four of Nidal's gunmen walked up to the ticket booth of Israel's El Al Airlines and opened fire with assault rifles and grenades, killing 16 and wounding 80. Just minutes later in Vienna, three of Nidal's terrorists killed 4 and wounded 39.
From 1974 until the early 1980s, ANO was based in Baghdad. In 1983, however, Iraqi President Saddam Hussein expelled Abu Nidal and his group in an attempt to persuade the United States to provide military support for Iraq in its war with Iran, a conflict which had begun in 1980 and would endure until 1988. After ANO's expulsion from Iraq, the organization moved to Syria, where it focused its efforts on undermining peace plans involving Jordan, Israel, and the PLO. Under U.S. pressure, Syria expelled ANO in 1987, at which point the organization moved to Libya. In 1988, when the Iran-Iraq War finally came to an end, Iraq resumed its support of ANO, and Abu Nidal himself ended up under Saddam Hussein's protection in Iraq, where he died in 2002—supposedly by suicide, although there is speculation that he was killed on orders of Saddam, perhaps because Nidal was plotting to overthrow him.
ANO's current strength is believed to consist of about 400 people based mostly in Iraq, plus dozens of militia men in cells located in Lebanon's Palestinian refugee camps.
Since Feb 14, 2005 --Hits: 61,630,061 --Visitors: 7,024,052