According to former Palestinian ambassador Atef Abu Bakr, the Egyptians arrested the leader of the Fateh Revolutionary Council, Sabri al-Banna (Abu Nidal) because he attempted to liquidate a number of Palestinian leaders during his stay in Egypt and the Egyptian security knew about it.
Abu Bakr said during Al Arabiya show “Political Memoirs” that Abu Nidal had a heart attack and was hospitalized when the security arrested him. He added that, according to trustful sources, Abu Nidal met with members from the CIA, the Egyptian Intelligence and an intelligence from another Arab country hostile to Saddam Hussein’s regime during the time of his arrest. In consequence, it was agreed that he will be deported to Iraq given that it’s the country that would bear his presence more than any other one.
Al-Zawahiri killing attempt
According to Abu Bakr, in the beginning, the Egyptian authorities sympathized with Abu Nidal’s group who was put under house arrest. Abu Nidal pledged to the Egyptian security that he will “kill a group of opponents including Ayman al-Zawahiri, Abu Hamza and the Imam of al-Jihad Mosque in Yemen, Mohammad Salah Abd al-Moutalib,” One of the members of Fateh Revolutionnary Council has indeed assassinated Abdal-Moutalib.
Travelling to Iraq through Iran
Atef Abu Bakr, former head of the political department of Fateh Revolutionary Council, explained in “Political Memoirs” that Sabri al-Banna left Egypt from Iraq through Iran. He said that “Abu Nidal got a visa from the Iranian embassy in Khartoum by the name of Mohammad Hassan Abdullah and entered Iran without the knowledge of the Iranians.”
After that, Abu Nidal took the road near the al-Manthariya border crossing to reach Iraq where the nephew of his wife, Khalil Khoder, welcomed him. He lived in Palestine Street with the knowledge of Iraqis.
Abu Nidal’s liquidation
Atef Abu Bakr denies that Abu Nidal committed suicide and believes that the Iraqi security liquidated him. He revealed that “the Iraqis were informed that Abu Nidal plotted against them. They didn’t believe it in the first place but after six months they discovered that he really did. An Iraqi security M4 committee investigated with him… Taher Habush said that 30 armed men attacked Abu Nidal’s house and killed him while the Iraqis say he killed himself. I am sure that he was assassinated along with three of his companions: Nabil Nassar, Suleiman al-Dirbih, and Samir al-Saadi.” Abu Bakr insists that “a clash took place between Abu Nidal’s group and the Iraqi security,” and reveals that one of the reasons that made Baghdad liquidate al-Banna was that the latter “had a relationship with Iraqi opposing factions in Oman and owned 14 explosive bags in Baghdad.”
Ponte and Zurich funds
The funds of Abu Nidal, his wife and his family came from different sources. Atef Abu Bakr narrates that Abu Nidal kidnapped two Swiss nationals and one Belgian to put pressure and release his funds in one of the Zurich banks. A compromise took place in collaboration with the intelligence to release the funds without the benefits. And indeed, the Swiss attorney general, Carla Del Ponte, ruled to “release the terrorism funds” and Abu Nidal’s wife received eight million dollars. Ponte herself was appointed as a prosecutor for the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR).
It is worth noting that “political Memoirs” program is presented by our colleague Taher Baraka and is aired Friday on Al Arabiya News Channel.