Palestine Liberation Front (PLF)
The Palestine Liberation Front (PLF) is a minor PLO group led by Wasel Abu Yousef. The group was historically funded by Iraq’s Ba’ath party. It has since has aligned itself closely with Fatah, running a PLF candidate (Sufian Matar) on Fatah’s electoral list during the cancelled May 2021 legislative elections.
The PLF’s history is entwined with that of Ahmad Jibril and his PFLP-GC. It was initially founded by Ahmad Jibril in 1959. In 1967, it merged with ‘The Heroes of Return’ — a political movement affiliated with the Arab National Movement — to form the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP). In 1968, Jibril then split from the PFLP and founded a new pro-Syrian organisation: the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine – General Command (PFLP-GC). The group adopted a pro-Syrian orientation.
However, following the group’s support for Syria’s 1976 intervention against the PLO in Lebanon, a number of disgruntled PFLP-GC cadres, led by Mohammed Abbas Zaydan (Abu Abbas) and Talat Yaqub, broke away. The following year, in 1977, they re-established the PLF as an independent organisation orientated towards Iraq which provided it with financial and military support.
The PLF is a US State Department designated Foreign Terrorist Organisations. It was responsible for the October 1985 hostage taking on the Achille Lauro during which PLF gunmen killed a disabled American tourist. In 1981, the PLF also reportedly “tried and failed to fly armed hang-gliders and hot air balloons over the Israel-Lebanon border”.