Palestine Liberation Front




    PLF Flag.gif

    The PLF flag.[1]

    Status: DORMANT
    AKA: Front for the Liberation of, Jibhat Tahrir Filistin, Palestine (FLP), Palesinte Liberation Front – Abu Abbas Faction, PLF, PLF-Abu Abbas
    Formed: 1977
    Areas of Operation: Iraq, Israel; Palestinian territories, Lebanon
    Ideology: Political (Nationalist – Palestinian)
    Group: 50 - 500 members
    Leader: Abd al Fatah Ghanem, Abu Ahmad Hajji Yusuf al-Makdah, Mohammad Zaydan (aka Abu Abbas), Tal’at Yaqub
    Affiliates: Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO)


    Organizational History

    The Palestine Liberation Front (PLF) is a Palestinian nationalist group which dedicated itself to armed struggle against Israel with the aim of dissolving the government and replacing it with a Palestinian-controlled regime.  The two factions led by Tal’at Yaqub and Abd al Fatah Ghanem opposed Yasser Arafat and his leadership of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), whereas the Abu Abbas faction supports Arafat in general, although opposed some of his peace initiatives.

    The PLF was originally created and founded by Ahmed Jibril in Egypt in the late 1950s. Less than ten years later, the PLF and Jibril joined with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) after negotiations for a merger failed with Fatah.  After one year with the PFLP, the PLF decided to split and create their own faction, the PFLP-General Command (PFLP-GC).  This organization lasted for almost ten years before original core PLF members opposed the PFLP-GC leadership and broke from the larger group to re-adopt the name “Palestine Liberation Front.”  By 1984, the PLF split into even smaller organizations along pro-PLO, pro-Syrian, and pro-Libyan lines. Mohammad Zaydan (alias Abu Abbas) led the most notorious of the groups, the pro-Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) faction based in Baghdad, Iraq. Yasser Arafat even recognized this Abu Abbas group as a member of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). 

    The Abu Abbas faction remained a member of Arafat’s PLO and carried out a string of terrorist attacks against Israel from the 1980s throughout the beginning of the next decade.   The PLF-Abu Abbas group  was designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization by the U.S. Department of State in October 1997.  Current leadership is based in Lebanon and the Palestinian territories in Israel.  Even though the group disarmed following their acknowledgement of the Oslo accords, they were still believed to have supported violent terrorist movements against Israel. Abbas was captured by coalition forces in Baghdad in 2003, and he died of natural causes the next year.[2] The group, under the name Martyr Abu al-Abbas, was involved in the 2006 elections, although they didn’t win any seats in the Palestinian Legislative Council.


    Little information is available as to the most current structure of the organization, although some researchers report that the PLF supports a central committee and a general secretariat.[3]


    The PLF’s arsenal has been notorious for its imaginative use of hang gliders, boats, and hot air balloons.  They often used improvised-explosive devices, mortars, assault rifles, and grenades in their operations.


    The PLF received financial support from outside sources, including Alergia, Iraq, and Syria. Out of these countries, Iraq was considered the principle support to the organization, forwarding the group funds as well as weapons and other equipment to back their operations.  The PLO also provided financial and logistical supporte to PLF.


    The PLF was known for their innovative techniques; the Abu-Abbas faction utilized hang gliders, boats, and hot air balloons in attacks against Israel.  They also engaged in assassinations, bombings, suicide attacks, kidnappings, and hijackings of both Israeli government and civilian targets.[3]



    The Achille Lauro, an Italian Cruise Ship, was hijakced by members of the PLF on October 7, 1985. One American died in the event and three PLF members were convicted and sentenced.[4]

    PLF Watches Obama.jpg

    Members of the PLF watch President Obama during his campaign in 2008.[5]

    leader mourn.jpg

    Members of the PLF mourn deceased leader Abu Abbas who was captured and died in US custody in 2004.[6]


    1. Ipavec, E. (2007, August 25). Palestinian Liberation Front (Palestine). Retrieved from [1]
    2. Palestine Liberation Front. (n.d.). Retrieved from [2]
    3. Transnational and Non-State Armed Groups. (n.d.) Palestine Liberation Front (PLF). Retrieved from [3]
    4. Lipman, J. (2010, October 7). On this day: Palestinians hijack the Achille Lauro. Retrieved from [4]
    5. Wall Street Journal. (2008, November 4). Pictures of the day. Retrieved from [5]
    6. Palestine Liberation Front. (2011). World News. Retrieved from [6] on November 18, 2011.

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