The Palestinian Authority has declared three days of mourning following the death of George Habash, the founder of the radical Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. He was 80 and had been in hospital in Jordan suffering from a heart condition. The PFLP was the second largest group in the PLO after Yasser Arafat’s Fatah faction.
Launched in 1967, six months after Israel seized the West Bank, Gaza Strip and Golan Heights, the PFLP gained notoriety for promoting the Palestinian cause through several headline grabbing attacks in the 1970’s – including the hijacking of an Air France airliner to Entebbe in Uganda.
Habash supported the use of violence, arguing that Israel would not make the concessions required for a peace deal.
However later in his life he came to support the PLO platform and moves adopted by Yasser Arafat.
Habash stepped down as leader of the PFLP in 2000, by which time the group had been sidelined by the growing power of Islamist movements like Hamas.