Abu Nidal Organization
Also Known As: ANO;
Country Of Origin: Palestine;
Leaders: Abu Nidal;
Key Members: Abu Nidal;
Operational Area: Palestine;
Involved In: Bomb Attacks, Armed Attacks, Assassinations;
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The Abu Nidal Organization (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. The group has been designated as a terrorist organization by the United States, the United Kingdom, Japan, Israel and the European Union.
The ANO was secular and anti-Western, but was not particularly associated with a broad ideology like leftism or Marxism.
The ANO was originally formed as a result of the 1974 Rejectionist Front split in the PLO, after Arafat’s Fatah had pushed through amendments of the PLO’s goals, which were seen as a step towards compromise with Israel. Abu Nidal then moved to Ba’athist Iraq where he set up the ANO, which soon began a vicious string of terrorist attacks.
It hasn’t clearly defined its ideological position, but was clearly opposed to any form of compromise or negotiation with Israel. It is known as one of the most uncompromisingly militant Palestinian groups ever. It had an estimated membership of several hundred, but its strength today is not known.
Campaign of violence:
The ANO carried out attacks in 20 countries, killing or injuring almost 1,650 persons. Targets include the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Israel, moderate Palestinians, the PLO, and various Arab and European countries. The group has not attacked Western targets since the late 1980s.
Major attacks included the Rome and Vienna Airport Attacks in December 1985, the Neve Shalom synagogue in Istanbul 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 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, which had made clear it accepted a negotiated solution to the conflict. Fatah-RC 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 Fatah-RC in 1983. In the late 1970s, the group also made failed assassination attempt on the present Palestinian president and PLO chairman, Mahmoud Abbas.
These attacks, and numerous others, led to the PLO issuing a death sentence in absentia against Abu Nidal. In the early 1990s, it made an attempt to gain control of a refugee camp in Lebanon, but this was thwarted by PLO organizations.