Marxist-Leninist organization founded in 1969 when it split from the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP). Believes Palestinian national goals can be achieved only through revolution of the masses. In early 1980s, occupied political stance midway between Arafat and the rejectionists. Spilt into two factions in 1991; Nayif Hawatmah leads the majority and more hardline faction, which continues to dominate the group. Joined with other rejectionist groups to form the Alliance of Palestinian Forces (APF) to oppose the Declaration of Principals signed in 1993. Broke from the APF--along with the PFLP--over ideological differences. Has made limited moves toward merging with the PFLP since the mid-1990s.
In the 1970s carried out numerous small bombings and minor assaults and some more spectacular operations in Israel and the occupied territories, concentrating on Israeli targets. Involved only in border raids since 1988, but continues to oppose the Israel-PLO peace agreement.
Estimated at 500 (total for both factions).
Location/Area of Operation
Syria, Lebanon, and the Israeli-occupied territories; terrorist attacks have taken place entirely in Israel and the occupied territories. Conducts occasional guerrilla operations in southern Lebanon.
Receives limited financial and military aid from Syria.