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Thursday, 4 May, 2000, 10:01 GMT 11:01 UK
Palestinian radicals deny bomb link

Ahamd Jibril, founder and leader of the hardline PFLP-GC
Both radical Palestinian groups incriminated by lawyers defending two Libyans on trial for blowing up a US airline over Lockerbie in 1988 have denied any involvement in the bombing.

"We have asserted from the beginning of the Lockerbie crisis that we have absolutely no connection to this case," Talal Naji, deputy secretary-general of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine - General Command (PFLP-GC), said in an interview published on Thursday.


PFLP-GC
Founded by Ahmad Jibril in 1968
Favours armed struggle against Israel
Rejects peaceful settlement
Main sponsors: Syria, Iran
Linked to Libya in 1980s
The PFLP-GC was one of two groups named by counsel for the two Libyans being tried for the bombing at a special Scottish court sitting in the Netherlands.

It is best known for rejecting any peaceful resolution to the Israel-Palestine conflict and is thought to have several hundred members based in Syria and Lebanon.

"From its establishment the PFLP-GC has concentrated its struggle against the Zionist enemy and its targets inside occupied Palestine," Mr Naji said in an interview in the Saudi-owned newspaper Asharq al-Awsat.

Surprise

The other group named on Wednesday was the more obscure and now defunct Palestinian Popular Struggle Front (PPSF).


Libyans Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al Magrahi and Al Amin Khalifa Fhimah
The accused: Mr Fhimah (left) and Mr Megrahi
Former PPSF leader Samir Ghosheh - now an ally of Palestinian Authority leader Yasser Arafat - also denied any involvement in the bombing in an interview quoted on the AFP news agency.

"We were surprised by the accusation 12 years after the crime. It is an unjust attempt to distract and to blame others," Mr Ghosheh said from his office in the West Bank town of Ramallah.

The lawyers for the Libyans incriminated nine alleged members of the PPSF as well as Muhammad Abu Talb, a Lebanese PFLP-GC member jailed in Sweden for terrorism.

Talb was never arrested in connection with the 1988 bombing, which killed 270 people on a Pan Am flight between London and New York and on the ground in the Scottish town of Lockerbie. He is now named as a prosecution witness.

"Abu Talb has no relationship in any direct or indirect way with the PFLP-GC and he was never a member of the group," Mr Naji said.

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