Ahmed Jibril

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Ahmed Jibril
Born Ahmed Jibril
1938 (age 75–76)
Yazur, Mandatory Palestine
Nationality Palestinian
Religion Sunni Islam
Children Jihad Ahmed Jibril

Ahmed Jibril (Arabic: أحمد جبريل‎; born c. 1938) is the founder and leader of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine – General Command (PFLP-GC). Since its inception in 1968 the PFLP-GC has staged numerous attacks against Israeli and other targets, both military and civilian.[citation needed]

During the Syrian civil war, Jibril was a notable supporter of the Assad regime and PFLP-GC members helped regime forces to fight the Syrian opposition. However, after clashes with rebels in Yarmouk Camp in Damascus, the PFLP-GC suffered defections and was forced to withdraw from the camp, and Jibril fled the city.[1]

Early life[edit]

Jibril was born in Yazur a town near Jaffa in Palestine, in 1938. His family moved to Syria, where he was raised, and where he served in the army from 1956 until 1958, rising to the rank of captain before being expelled as a suspected Communist. He founded the Palestinian Liberation Front in 1959, then joined George Habash to found the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine in 1967, an armed movement that combined Arab nationalism with leftist ideology.

Break from the PFLP[edit]

In 1968 Jibril broke away from the PFLP because of disputes over the more revolutionary Marxism advocated by Habash and Nayef Hawatmeh. He formed a new organization, the pro-Syrian PFLP-General Command.

Jibril never wavered from his belief that Palestine could only be liberated through military attrition. He joined Habash and other splinter groups which opposed negotiations with the Israeli government. He launched a variety of inventive attacks, including the "Night of the Gliders" on 25 November 1987.

Leader of PFLP-GC[edit]

The PFLP-GC maintained cells in several European cities, which carried out anti-American or anti-Israeli operations on behalf of Syria, Gaddafi's Libya, and Iran.[citation needed]

Samuel Katz's Israel vs. Jibril distinguishes the PFLP-GC and Jibril's strategy from the rest of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) by its emphasis on military training and equipment, and not on declarations and publicity stunts. This caused the group to fail to make a significant mark on the public debate. Since 1994's Oslo Accords, support for the PFLP-GC dwindled among Palestinians.

On 7 May 2001, the Israeli Navy seized a Palestinian boat filled with heavy weapons in the port of Haifa. Jibril is believed to have been behind the shipment of weapons, which were bound for the Gaza Strip.

During the Syrian civil war, the PFLP-GC helped the Syrian Army to fight the Syrian rebels in and around Yarmouk Camp – a district of Damascus that is home to the biggest community of Palestinian refugees in Syria.[2] Several members of the PFLP-GC's central committee opposed this alliance with the regime and resigned in protest.[3] By 17 December the rebels, which included Palestinians, had won control of Yarmouk.[4] Jibril fled Damascus, reportedly for the Mediterranean city of Tartous.[5][6] Palestinian left-wing groups—including the PFLP—berated Jibril and the PFLP-GC.[7] One PFLP official said that Jibril "does not even belong to the Palestinian Left. He is closer to the extremist right-wing groups than to revolutionary leftist ones".[7] On 18 December, the Palestinian National Council (PNC) denounced Jibril, saying it would expel him over his role in the conflict.[3]

Personal life[edit]

Jibril's son, Jihad Ahmed Jibril, who headed the PFLP-GC's military wing and was in line to replace Jibril as leader of the group, was killed by a car bomb in Beirut on 20 May 2002.[8]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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