Radical Palestinian guerrilla leader Ahmed Jibril vowed Sunday to kill British author Salman Rushdie in compliance with the orders of Iran’s leader, the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.
Jibril, an ex-Syrian army officer and head of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command (PFLP-GC), said in a statement:
“We in the PFLP-GC will confront this new conspiracy (against Islam) and work to execute the legal action against Rushdie.”
A spokesman for the Damascus-based PFLP-GC, asked if the statement represented a death threat against the Indian-born author, said: “Certainly. This is a death sentence against Rushdie.”
The statement, quoting verses from the Koran, said Rushdie’s novel, “The Satanic Verses,” was a conspiracy to defame Islam and had been written at the behest of “arrogant (Western)” forces.
Iranian clerics, saying the book blasphemes Islam, have offered a $5.2-million reward for Rushdie’s death.
“The satanic media all over the world rallied their resources to promote Rushdie’s book,” Jibril’s statement said.
The PFLP-GC is part of a Syrian-based radical Palestinian alliance that also has ties to Libya. It opposes the policies of Palestine Liberation Organization Chairman Yasser Arafat.
Demonstrations against the book have killed at least 20 people in Pakistan and India.