Tuesday, April 15, 2003
War in Iraq has nothing to do with our war on terrorism.... right.

In case you had doubts that Iraq is involved (intimately) with terrorism:

Achille Lauro Mastermind Abbas Caught

U.S. commandos in Baghdad have captured Abul Abbas, the leader of the violent Palestinian group that killed an American on the hijacked cruise liner Achille Lauro in 1985, U.S. officials said Tuesday.

Abbas was taken by American special operations forces during a raid Monday night on the outskirts of the capital city, the officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Several of his associates were also detained during raids at several sites around Baghdad, defense officials said. Commandos, tipped off by U.S. intelligence to Abbas' whereabouts, also seized documents and weapons.

The man known as Abul Abbas, whose name actually is Mohammed Abbas, led a faction of the Palestine Liberation Front, a Palestinian splinter group.

His faction operated out of Tunisia until the October 1985 attack on the Achille Lauro, after which it relocated to Iraq (news - web sites). His group was also responsible for some attacks in Israel.

"He got away from us, and we've been chasing him ever since," said Vince Cannistraro, a former CIA (news - web sites) counterterrorism chief. "He's a big catch for us. It's an old score to settle."

Abbas, either 61 or 62, had eluded arrest since his four of his followers hijacked the Achille Lauro as it sailed from Egypt to Israel in October 1985. They demanded that Israel release 50 imprisoned Palestinians.

During the hijacking, his followers shot and killed Jewish American passenger Leon Klinghoffer, 69. The hijackers then tossed Klinghoffer and his wheelchair off the cruise ship.

Yeah, there are no terrorists in Iraq. Sure. I remember this horrific incident so well, even though I was pretty young at the time. For some reason (maybe because Leon Klinghoffer was an American Jew?), it hit home, and it struck fear in me. I'm relieved that there is one more goon off the streets.

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