BlackEagle/BlackEagle Logistics & Procurement Branch, Data Support Section
Results of Criminal Organizations Database Search: al Fatah
Al Fatah #CR0002091
(Also... Some alternate names are aliases, other are names for specific subgroups or
Hawari Special Operations Group
Black September Organization
Fatah Special Operations Group
Martyrs of Tal Alza'atar
Source: CIA, EuroTer, Interpol, MI-6
Type: Political terrorist organization
Dormant political terrorist organization, which formerly carried out attacks throughout the world
against a variety of 'enemy' targets.
In the 1960s and the 1970s, Fatah offered training to a wide range of European, Middle
Eastern, Asian, and African terrorist and insurgent groups. [Interpol] Links exist with the
Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine [#CR0001639], the Abu Nidal Organization
[#CR0000716] and the Worldwide Islamic Jihad [#CR0001716] [EuroTer] As a member of the
Palestine Liberation Organization's [#CR0000318] umbrella organization, links can be
suggested with all of the PLO's links.
Personnel: 6,000 to 8,000
Al Fatah operates in a military hierarchy, but follows the PLO command council and intelligence
Abu Hul (Jihad) [#LL6128419] and Abu Iyad [#LL6243371], both leaders were assassinated in
recent years, and the present leadership is unknown.
Operates a number of front organizations, but also receives financial and political support from
Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the former USSR.
Smallarms, explosives and military equipment provided by the former USSR, China and North
Korea. Excellent training and training facilities also provided by the USSR. Excellent intelligence
and support provided by the PLO.
Suspected Criminal Activity:
Terrorist attacks began in 1971, and Fatah began very actively by destroying fuel tanks at the oil
dock facilities in Rotterdam. Alia (Royal Jordanian Airlines) was an early target, Fatah attacked
their office in Rome, an aircraft in Cairo, as well as hijacking a flight from Beirut to Cairo. Late in
1971 Black September claimed responsibility for the assassination of Jordanian Prime Minister,
Wasfi el-Tal, in Cairo, and attempted to assassinate the Jordanian ambassador to the United
Kingdom in London. Fatah gained international notoriety in 1972, after assassinating five
Palestinians, and a West German, they attacked the London residence of Jordan's King
Hussein. During the 1972 Olympic games, eight members of Black September seized the
dormitory of the Israeli athletes in Munich. Although the incident was eventually resolved, eleven
Israeli athletes and coaches were killed, along with a German policeman and five of the
terrorists. Three of the Black September terrorists were captured, but subsequently released by
the government of the Federal Republic of Germany following a Lufthansa hijacking in October of
1972. Fatah expanded their operations in 1972 to include letter bombings, further assassinations
and the capturing of the Israeli embassy in Bangkok.
In 1973 Fatah attacked the Jewish agency in Paris, and occupied the Saudi embassy in Sudan.
Three western diplomats were murdered in the Sudan attack. The Egyptian embassy in Madrid
was occupied in September 1975, six hostages were later released in Algiers. A coastal freighter
the "Atavarius" was sunk while trying to infiltrate a Fatah raiding group into Israel. Twenty raiders
were killed and eight captured. In 1985 attacks were centered mainly on Israel and Israelis,
including the seizing and murdering of three Israelis aboard a pleasure boat, the murder of two
seamen in Barcelona and a bus bombing in Israel that wounded six.
In the early 1990's many bus bombings were linked to Fatah, or one of it's sub-groups. Since the
signing of the Palestinian peace accord, no attacks have been authorized by the Fatah
Organization. In spite of Fatah's desire to conceal its connections with the Black September
Organization, the arrests of a BSO agent in Jordan and of another in France produced evidence
linking the two organizations. Although the BSO was dissolved by Fatah in December 1974
many former BSO operatives then joined either the Palestinian Front for the Liberation of
Palestine [#CR0001639] or the Abu Nidal Organization [#CR0000716]. The murder of Israeli
diplomat Yosef Alon in December 1975 in Washington, D.C., was once believed to be the work
of local proxies acting on behalf of Black September. From 1981 to 1987, about 17 actions were
claimed in the name of the Black September Organization, but these were most likely the work
of Abu Nidal operatives.
Formed by Palestinian exiles in Kuwait in 1957, Al Fatah surfaced in 1959 and began carrying
out raids into Israel in 1965. After the 1967 Six Day War, Fatah, the military arm of the PLO,
grew rapidly and eclipsed other Palestinian Organizations. In 1969, Fatah leader Yasser Arafat
[#LL2191428] assumed the leadership of the PLO. The increase in Fatah's power after 1967 also
created new problems for the organization; and in 1968 Israel initiated strikes in retaliation for
Fatah operations by attacking Fatah locations and bases in Jordan. Fatah, meanwhile, began to
compete directly against Jordanian authority in areas such as the Jordan River Valley. These
tensions culminated in September 1970 (referred to as "Black September" by Palestinian
radicals) when Jordanian forces fought Fatah to re-assert government control. Fatah-Jordanian
tensions continued through 1971, when the remainder of Fatah forces were forced to leave
Jordan. Nearly all Fatah forces were re-located to Lebanon.
Fatah's strategy of using international terrorism changed in the wake of the 1973 Arab-Israeli
"Yom Kippur" war. Increased efforts on the part of the United States and other western nations to
forge a peace process in the middle east caused Arafat to reconsider his stance in the region. In
an effort to improve Fatah's image with the United States and the west, Arafat decided to limit
the employment of terrorist operations to Israel, Lebanon, and the occupied territories. Fatah has
not always adhered to this policy, as elements of Fatah, such as Force 17 and the Hawari
organization, have conducted operations against Israeli and non-Israeli targets outside of Israel
and the occupied territories. The Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982 (provoked by the Abu Nidal
Organization's [#CR0000716] attempted assassination of the Israeli ambassador to the United
Kingdom) led to the group's dispersal to several Middle Eastern countries, including Tunisia,
Yemen, Algeria, Iraq, and others.
Fatah established its current headquarters in Tunisia, but the effects of the Israeli raid on PLO
headquarters in Tunis in October, 1985, prompted a significant reduction in the Fatah presence
in Tunis. Today only a nominal PLO headquarters staff remains in Tunis. The primary
concentrations of Fatah personnel are in Yemen, Sudan, Iraq and Algeria. Almost all intelligence
and security personnel stationed in PLO diplomatic posts throughout the world are drawn from
the ranks of Fatah. Fatah also maintains several military and intelligence wings that have carried
out terrorist attacks, including Force 17 and the Western Sector. Two of its leaders, Abu Hul
(Jihad) [#LL6128419] and Abu Iyad [#LL6243371], were assassinated in recent years.
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