Libya Expels Radicals, Shuts 4 Training Camps, Abbas Says
Abul Abbas, the mastermind of the Achille Lauro cruise ship hijacking five years ago, said Sunday that Libya has expelled 145 members of his radical group and closed down four training camps.
Abbas said the move was a surprise to him and his wing of the Palestine Liberation Front, considered to be a major terrorist organization.
He said the ejection was unjustified and urged Libya’s leader, Col. Moammar Kadafi, to reopen the camps and the group’s offices.
The government in Tripoli has not given an explanation for its action, he said. Reports began to surface about a week ago that Libya had expelled the Palestinians.
Arab diplomats in Baghdad said the United States had asked King Hassan II of Morocco and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to press Kadafi to eject the group.
Kadafi is believed to want Libya’s removal from the U.S. State Department’s list of countries supporting terrorism.
PLO chief Yasser Arafat has also been pressed to dissociate himself from Abbas, who has a seat on the executive committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization. Pressure to remove Abbas increased after his group raided an Israeli beach in May, an action that led to a break in a U.S.-PLO dialogue. Abbas said Arafat had not known about the raid in advance.
Based in Baghdad since leaving Lebanon in 1982, Abbas is believed to have several hundred guerrilla fighters in his organization--in Iraq, Lebanon and, until now, Libya.
A court in Genoa, Italy, in 1986 convicted Abbas in absentia for masterminding the Achille Lauro hijacking in which an American was killed.
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