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Last Updated: Monday, 15 March, 2004, 15:27 GMT
Abbas refused burial in West Bank
Abu Abbas
Abbas was captured in Iraq in April 2003
Late Palestinian guerrilla leader Abu Abbas may be buried in Syria after Israel refused to let his body be returned to the West Bank.

Abbas, who led the hijack of the Achille Lauro cruise ship in 1985, died in US custody in Iraq.

The US agreed to hand over his body, but Israeli sources say he will not be allowed a burial in Ramallah.

A leader from Abbas's Palestinian Liberation Front said he would be buried in Syria instead.

Under a 1993 interim Israeli-Palestinian peace deal, Palestinians have to be given Israeli permission to transfer bodies for burial to the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Heart attack

"No official request has been submitted but I can assure you if there was a request it would be turned down," news agency AFP quoted a source close to Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon as saying.

Abbas died last week in Iraq, where he was captured last year by US forces,

The Americans say he died from a heart attack, but Palestinians reacted in fury and called for an independent investigation.

"I accuse the Americans of having killed him since he died in their custody, either they killed him directly or they neglected him," said his widow, Reem Nimr.

Jew killed

Abbas was one of several PLF members who carried out the 1985 attack on the Achille Lauro, in an attempt to secure the release of 50 Palestinian prisoners being held in Israel.

The ship was seized while sailing between the Egyptian cities of Alexandria and Port Said.

During the two-day stand-off, the gunmen killed Leon Klinghoffer - an elderly, disabled American Jew - and threw his body overboard.

Abbas died of 'natural causes'
11 Mar 04  |  Middle East
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10 Mar 04  |  Middle East
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10 Mar 04  |  Middle East
Abu Abbas: Unfinished business
17 Apr 03  |  Middle East


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