Abbas, (Mahmoud) Abul.
An Arab terrorist leader of the Palestine Liberation Front (PLF), a splinter group of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) (qv), Abbas is believed to have masterminded the hijacking of the SS Achille Lauro, an Italian cruise ship in the Mediterranean, on 7 October 1985. During the seizure, Leon Klinghoffer, a wheelchair-bound American, was murdered. Abbas was sent by Yasser Arafat (qv) to act as his negotiator in a meeting requested by Italy's socialist prime minister, Bettino Craxi (qv). When this was discovered, the United States demanded Abbas's arrest, as he was a known terrorist. Instead, Abbas was allowed to leave Italy and return to Egypt because, as Craxi said, he was under Egyptian protection and was carrying an Iraqi diplomatic passport. Abbas was known to be a member of the PLO executive committee.
(b. 24 October 1899, Taber, near Djidjelli, Constantine Department, Algeria—d. 24 December 1985, Algiers) Born the son of an Arab official, Abbas was educated in the French style at Philippville and Algiers University. He served two years in the French army before becoming a pharmacist in Setif. He entered state service as a member of the consular service in Constantine, and in 1931 he became active in the early Algerian movements against French overlordship of his country. In World War II, however, he voluntarily served in the French army, only to return to his pro-Algeria work at war's end. He was involved in the presentation of the Algerian Manifesto to the Allies in February 1943 and was instrumental in the 1946 plan that would have given Algeria autonomy in a French federation. That plan was rejected. When the Algerian uprising began in 1954, he cautioned against violence, but he was forced to flee to Cairo to avoid arrest by the French and the retribution of the more-agitated Algerians. In 1956 he joined the National Liberation Front (FLN) and in 1958