Broke away from the PFLP-GC in the late 1970’s. Later, split again into pro-PLO, pro- Syrian, and pro-Libyan factions. Pro-PLO faction led by Muhammad Abbas (a.k.a. Abu Abbas) had been based in Baghdad. Abbas himself was detained by Coalition Forces in April 2003 and subsequently died in custody of natural causes in March 2004.
The Abu Abbas–led faction is known for aerial attacks against Israel. Abbas’s group also was responsible for the attack in 1985 on the Italian cruise ship Achille Lauro and the murder of US citizen Leon Klinghoffer. A warrant for Abu Abbas’s arrest is outstanding in Italy. Has become more active since the start of the al-Aqsa intifadah, and several PLF members have been arrested by Israeli authorities for planning attacks in Israel and the West Bank.
Location/Area of Operation
Based in Iraq since 1990; has a presence in Lebanon and the West Bank.
Until the overthrow of Saddam Hussein, received support mainly from Iraq. Has received support from Libya in the past.