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 Posted Friday, January 29, 1999

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ISSUE 1343 Thursday 27 January 1999    

Clinton allows stronger military response in Iraq

Saddam 'turns to killer Abu Nidal'[*]

By Hugh Davies in Washington

SADDAM HUSSEIN has ended a 15-year feud with Abu Nidal, one of the world's most wanted terrorists, possibly to use him to mastermind a campaign of international mayhem, intelligence sources in Washington said yesterday.

Accused by the United States of having killed or injured 900 people inattacks in 20 countries since 1974, he is wanted in Britain, America and Italy. Details of Nidal's return to Baghdad were leaked amid fears that Saddam was plotting retaliation for what the Pentagon admits was an error in the firing of an AGM-130 missile. Iraq said it hit homes near Basra, killing 11 people.

In fact, the missile missed its military target by 18 miles but, with Iraq's concerted challenge to US planes in "no fly" zones heightening, President Clinton has authorised pilots to strike back even more aggressively. Saddam was suspected of financing Ramzi Yousef, who spent time in Baghdad prior to organising the 1993 New York World Trade Centre bombing.

While deadly, the attack was a ramshackle affair, and a man such as Nidal could provide expertise in creating more devastating international terror. Iraqi diplomatic sources mocked the notion of Nidal being back in Baghdad, saying that there was still "bad blood" over the Palestinian's "treachery"in double-dealing with Syria.

Nidal quietly switched headquarters from Baghdad to Damascus in 1983, partly because Saddam had found that he was also secretly working with Syrian intelligence. But US officials say that Nidal returned to Baghdad around Dec 6. The terrorist, also known as Sabri al-Banna, has been living in Libya and Egypt for the past few years.

Cairo is thought to have engineered his departure, via Teheran. Nidal led the "Black September" movement after splitting with Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat in 1973. With Iraqi support, he waged war against Palestinian Liberation Organisation diplomats, killing Said Hammami in London and Ezzeldin Kalak in Paris.

Our opinion
  * Information needed to decode the above news item: It has long been known that "Abu Nidal" is a fiction created by The Mossad, Israeli's Intelligence service. He was for example blamed for the mystery machine-gun attack on Israel's ambassador in Lodon, Shlomo Argov, in 1981 which was used to justify the invasion of Lebanon launched on the following day.

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