Tuesday, March 23, 2004

Abbas dead

By Paul Greenberg

The body was shipped out of Baghdad. That's where Abu Abbas, aka Abul Abbas, ne Muhammad Abbas, had been apprehended by American forces last April.

By then this man of many names had accumulated a rap sheet going back 30 years, beginning with the time he personally wiped out a family in Nahariya, Israel. (Only the mother lived to tell the tale.) Now he is said to have died of a heart attack while in custody, the first sign that he ever had a heart.

Naturally he will be given a hero's burial by the Palestine Authority. For Abu Abbas had moved steadily up in the terrorist ranks over the years, becoming chief of his own faction, the Palestinian Liberation Front. His most notorious exploit was the hijacking of the Italian cruise ship Achille Lauro, during which a crippled passenger - 69-year-old Leon Klinghoffer - was shot in the head and his wheelchair-bound body dumped overboard. Nice people, the Palestine Liberation Front.

As a result, a life sentence awaited Abu Abbas in Italy, where he'd been tried in absentia. But he found sanctuary in Saddam Hussein's Iraq. (Tell us again that Saddam had no links to terrorism.) And now he's escaped justice once again.

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