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Dr Wadie Haddad (1927 – March 28, 1978), a.k.a. Abu Hani, was a Palestinian Christian terrorist active in the 1960s and 1970s, involved in several attacks against Israeli civilians. He is believed to have been assassinated by the Mossad.

Contents

Biography

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Early years

Haddad was born to Greek Orthodox Christian parents in Safed, in what is today northern Israel, in 1927. During the 1948 Arab-Israeli War his family fled to Lebanon. He studied medicine at The American University of Beirut, where he met fellow Palestinian refugee George Habash. Together they helped found the Arab Nationalist Movement (ANM), a Pan Arab and Arab Socialist grouping aiming to conquer the territory of Israel.

After graduating, he relocated with Habash (a paediatrician) to Amman, Jordan, where they established a clinic. He worked with the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) in 1956, but due to his Palestinian nationalist activism he was arrested by Jordanian authorities in 1957. In 1961, he managed to escape to Syria. Haddad argued for armed struggle against Israel from 1963 onwards, and succeeded in militarizing the ANM.

Popular Front radical

After the 1967 Six Day War, the Palestinian wing of the ANM transformed into a socialist Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), under the leadership of Habash. Haddad became the leader of the military wing of the group, involved in organizing attacks on Israeli civilian targets. He helped plan the first PFLP aircraft hijacking in 1968, when an Israeli El Al plane was hijacked. He went on arguing for and organizing hijackings, despite criticism against the PFLP from within the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO).

PFLP - External Operations

The Dawson's Field hijackings of 1970, when PFLP members including Leila Khaled brought three passenger jets to Jordan, helped provoke the bloody fighting of Black September. After the expulsion of the PLO factions from Jordan, Haddad was subjected to harsh criticism from the PFLP, which was in turn under pressure from the rest of the PLO. Haddad was ordered not to attack targets outside of Israel, but continued operations under the name of Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine - External Operations (PFLP-EO). Haddad was expelled from the organization PFLP in 1973.

He also employed the services of Ilich Ramírez Sánchez, better known as "Carlos the Jackal", whom he had met in 1970 and trained in guerrilla warfare techniques. In 1975, however, Haddad decided to expel Sánchez from his team after he had been accused of refusing to kill two hostages and possibly stealing ransom money, after the assault on the OPEC conference in Vienna on December 22. In June 1976, Haddad organized the Entebbe hijacking.

Death attributed to Mossad

Haddad died on March 28, 1978, in the German Democratic Republic. According to the book Striking Back, published by Aharon Klein in 2006, Haddad was eliminated by the Mossad, which had sent the chocolate-loving Haddad poisoned, biologically-infected Belgian chocolates coated with a slow-acting and undetectable poison which caused him to die within a month.[1] "It took him a few long months to die," Klein said in the book.[1] Haddad died in a rundown hotel in East Germany after doctors were unable to diagnose his disease.[2]

What remained of the PFLP-EO dissolved after his death, but in the process augured the May 15 Organization and the PFLP-SC.

KGB Agent

According to Vasili Mitrokhin, a senior KGB archivist who defected to the UK in 1992, in early 1970 Haddad was recruited by the KGB as an agent, codenamed NATSIONALIST. Thereafter, in deep secrecy the Soviets helped to fund and arm the PFLP. The KGB had advance warning of its major operations and almost certainly sanctioned the most significant, such as the September 1970 hijackings. Haddad remained a highly valued agent till his death in 1978. Mitrokhin is not universally regarded as a reliable source.

A letter by Yuri Andropov allegedly confirming Haddad's role as an agent was independently discovered in Soviet archives by Vladimir Bukovsky, and has been published since.[3]

Further reading

References


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