RealNews

Achille Lauro Planner Captured

Special Operations Troops Arrest Abbas in Baghdad. The Palestinian guerrilla leader who masterminded the 1985 hijacking of the Italian cruise ship Achille Lauro, in which a disabled American tourist was murdered and thrown overboard, was captured yesterday in Baghdad by U.S. Special Operations troops, a senior defense official said. After a search by troops of several locations in the Iraqi capital, Mohammed Abbas, the leader of the Palestinian Liberation Front, was taken into custody along with a small group of other people in a house in the city. The former Palestinian leader, who is also known as Abu Abbas, had tried to flee to Syria, but was turned back, a senior Bush administration official said. Syria’s refusal to allow Abbas entry is in keeping with Syria’s cooperation with the United States on tracking down terrorists since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. Because of what they see as that quiet aid, some U.S. intelligence officials have been critical of the recent warnings to Syria by Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and Secretary of State Colin L. Powell. Rumsfeld has accused Syria of allowing leaders of Iraq’s ousted government to flee across its border. The apprehension of Abbas was greeted with satisfaction by U.S. officials. “It proves we will track people down 18 years after murdering an American,” the senior administration official said. Full Story

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