Palestinian terrorist Abu Nidal committed suicide

Wednesday, August 21, 2002

Iraqi officials say Abu Nidal took own life

The AssociatedPress

BAGHDAD, Iraq -- Iraq confirmed Abu Nidal's death, saying Tuesday that the feared Palestinian terrorist leader had committed suicide.

In Baghdad's first official confirmation of his death, Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Tareq Aziz told reporters that Abu Nidal had killed himself.

"Yes, I confirm his suicide and an official will give you full details on Wednesday," Aziz said.

On Monday, two senior Palestinian officials said Abu Nidal -- a feared terrorist who targeted Israel, Palestinian Liberation Organization figures and Arab officials for associating with Israelis -- had been found dead of gunshot wounds three days earlier in his Baghdad house.

The Palestinian officials suggested Abu Nidal had committed suicide, but did not explain how he could have shot himself several times. His death raised suspicions that he may have been assassinated by his Iraqi patrons or Palestinian enemies.

Abu Nidal was widely believed to have been living in Baghdad since sometime in 1999, although the Iraqi government never acknowledged this.

The radical faction that he formed -- which went by the name Fatah-Revolutionary Council -- killed at least 275 people and wounded hundreds more in dozens of attacks.

As one of the leading terrorists in the Middle East over the past 30 years, Abu Nidal's followers bombed American airliners, mowed down travelers in airports, machine-gunned sidewalk cafes and synagogues and blew up hotels.

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