Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine – External Operations
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The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine – External Operations (PFLP-EO) or Special Operations (PFLP-SO) or Special Operations Group (PFLP-SOG) were organizational names used by Palestinian radical Wadie Haddad when engaging in international attacks, that were regarded as terrorism, and were not sanctioned by the PFLP.
A leading member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) from its inception, Haddad had been banned from organizing attacks on non-Israeli targets after his role in the Dawson's Field hijackings in 1970, which were widely seen as having provoked the Black September crackdown on the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) in Jordan.
However, Haddad defied the ban by claiming to carry out his attacks in the name of a PFLP-EO faction, although he remained part of the PFLP. To support him, he solicited the help of non-PFLP organizations such as the Abu Nidal Organization, the Japanese Red Army (Arab-JRA) and the West German Red Army Faction (RAF); he also employed his PFLP protégé, Ilich Ramírez Sánchez ("Carlos the Jackal").
It is unclear to what extent the PFLP-EO formed a faction in the real sense of the word, within the Palestinian nationalist movement. It may simply have been a faction or trend within the PFLP, or possibly a name tag used to shield the PFLP from the political fallout of Haddad's spectacular terrorist operations.
As discontent grew with Haddad's rogue tactics, and the mainstream PLO pressured the PFLP to cease its international operations, Haddad's position became increasingly precarious. After the botched Entebbe Operation in 1976, when Israel gained worldwide sympathy after rescuing more than one hundred airline passengers held by Haddad's PFLP-EO fighters and their German affiliates in Uganda, the PFLP leadership responded by expelling him from the organization. Wadie Haddad died in 1978, first reported from leukaemia and later from possible poisoning by the Mossad.
The PFLP-EO spawned other radical groups:
- The 15 May Organization
- Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine - Special Command
- Lebanese Armed Revolutionary Faction
- Terrorist Group Profiles. U.S. government publication, 1988. p. 19