Muhammad Youssef al-Najjar

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Muhammad Youssef Al-Najjar
Born11 June 1930
Died10 April 1973(1973-04-10) (aged 42)

Muhammad Youssef Al-Najjar (Arabic: محمد يوسف النجار‎; 11 June 1930 - 10 April 1973), commonly known as Abu Youssef, was a Palestinian militant who was assassinated by Israel over alleged involvement in the 1972 Munich massacre.


Originally from Yibna, he was forced to leave his home village in 1948 when he settled with his family in the Rafah Camp, Gaza Strip. He worked as a teacher until 1954 when he went to Egypt to study law at Cairo University. He was qualified from Egypt as a lawyer. When the Fatah organization formed in the late 1950s, Youssef was an early activist, traveling to Qatar to form similar groups, and taking command of Fatah's military wing.

In 1968, Youssef was appointed to the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). He also was a member of the Palestinian National Congress, the Palestinian parliament in exile. Before his death, Youssef was interviewed by the Beirut newspaper L'Orient-Le Jour. In the interview, he explained his conviction to the Palestinian cause: "We plant the seeds, and the others will reap the harvest... Most probably we'll all die, killed because we are confronting a fierce enemy. But the youth will replace us".[1]

Youssef may have been involved in planning the 1972 Munich massacre, in which 11 Israeli athletes and coaches were killed in the crossfire between the German police and the Black September group. This prompted Israel to launch a revenge campaign called Operation Wrath of God, with Youssef as a principal target. In 1973, Israel sent commandos to Beirut, Lebanon to kill a number of high level PLO officials in the 1973 Israeli raid on Lebanon. Youssef and his wife were killed by gunfire in their bedroom when Israeli commandos stormed into their Beirut apartment.[2][3]


The Abu Yousef Al Najjar Hospital in Rafah was named for him.[4] A grandson is Ammar Campa-Najjar, who ran as a Democrat to represent California's 50th congressional district in the United States House of Representatives, losing to the incumbent Republican Duncan Hunter.[5][6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Most Probably We'll All Die", Time Magazine, 23 April 1973. Accessed 24 February 2010.
  2. ^ Bell, J. Bowyer. Assassin: Theory and Practice of Political Violence. New Brunswick: Transaction Publishers, 2005. ISBN 1-4128-0509-0 p. 138
  3. ^ "Isralis kill 3 guerrilla leaders in Beirut raid". The Miami News. Beirut. AP. 10 April 1973. Retrieved 16 December 2012.
  4. ^ "Israel shells Youssef al-Najjar Hospital in Rafah". Ma'an News Agency. Retrieved 1 August 2014.
  5. ^ Grandson of Munich Massacre Terrorist Is Running for Congress – Sounding a Peaceful Tone on Israel, Haaretz
  6. ^ Clark, Charles T. (31 October 2018). "Under attack by Hunter, Campa-Najjar's complex family history spans continents and generations of Middle East strife". San Diego-Union Tribune.