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Friday, 14 January, 2000, 18:12 GMT
Leading member of Abu Nidal arrested

Abu Nidal, also known as Sabri al-Banna, is believed to be living in Iraq


A leading member of the Abu Nidal extremist Palestinian guerrilla group, Nimer Halima, has been arrested in the Austrian capital, Vienna.

Attacks attributed to Abu Nidal
1985: Attacks at Rome and Vienna airports in December 1985
1986: Attacks on the Neve Shalom synagogue in Istanbul, and the hijacking of Pan Am Flight 73 hijacking in Karachi
1988: Attack on the City of Poros day-excursion ship in the Mediterranean, and a bombing of a hotel in Khartoum
1991: Suspected of assassinating PLO deputy chief Abu Iyad
1994: Assassinated a Jordanian diplomat in Lebanon

Police said Halima was detained on Thursday but would give no further details.

According to reports, Halima was the Abu Nidal Organisation's treasurer.

An Austrian magazine, Format, reports that she was arrested trying to withdraw $7.4m from a branch of the Bank of Austria.

Investigators are quoted in other reports as saying that Halima had tried to get into an account frozen since the 1990-91 Gulf War because of her links with Iraq.

'Father of Struggle'

Abu Nidal (the Arabic for Father of Struggle), is the nom de guerre of Sabri al-Banna. He split from Yasser Arafat's Palestine Liberation Organisation in 1974 and is believed to be responsible for the murders of several high-ranking PLO officials.


Abu Nidal A.K.A.
The Fatah Revolutionary Council
The Arab Revolutionary Council
The Arab Revolutionary Brigades
The Revolutionary Organisation of Socialist Muslims

Abu Nidal is also wanted for several incidents in the 1980s including the attacks on Rome and Vienna airports in December 1985 which killed 18 people and the bombing of an hotel in Khartoum in 1988 in which eight people died.

Despite being dormant for a number of years, the United States State Department still lists the Abu Nidal Organisation in its report, Patterns of Global Terrorism.

In October 1999, the Egyptian authorities shut down the organisation office, seized its assets and arrested several members.

Abu Nidal himself is believed to be settled in Iraq.

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26 Aug 98 |  Middle East
Conflicting reports over Abu Nidal

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