Terrorism Profiles

Palestine Liberation Front (PLF)

Alternative Names:

PLF-Abu Abbas Faction, Front for the Liberation of Palestine (FLP)


 The group operates primarily in Europe, Israel, Lebanon and other areas in the Middle East. 


 The pro-PLO faction was led by Muhammad Zaydan (a.k.a. Abu Abbas) and was based in Baghdad prior to Operation Iraqi Freedom. Coalition special operations personnel in Baghdad captured Palestinian terrorist Abu Abbas April 14, 2003. Palestinian terrorist Abu Abbas died  March 2004.


Estimates place numbers between 50 and 500.

Funding Sources:

 Funding is suspected to be provided by the PLO, and other sympathetic supporters within Palestine and abroad. However, this is speculation and little is known about where the group acquires its resources.


The Palestine Liberation Front (PLF) is a small-armed splinter group allied to the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO), founded in 1961 by Ahmad Jibril. During its most active period, it is known to have conducted several high-profile attacks, including the October 1985 hijacking of the Italian cruise ship, Achille Lauro

In the late 1970s, the Palestine Liberation Front (PLF) splintered from the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command (PFLP-GC), and then later split into pro-PLO, pro-Syrian, and pro-Libyan factions. The pro-PLO faction was led by Muhammad Zaydan (a.k.a. Abu Abbas) and was based in Baghdad prior to Operation Iraqi Freedom.

After approximately 16 years without claiming responsibility for any attacks, PLF claimed two attacks against Israeli targets on March 14, 2008. Shortly after the attacks, a PLF Central Committee member reaffirmed PLF’s commitment to using “all possible means to restore” its previous glory and to adhering to its role in the Palestinian “struggle” and “resistance,” through its military.

The current status of the PLF is uncertain, some reports believe there is still a small contingent of members who operate in a very limited capacity. Largely, the organization is believed to be inactive.

Major Attacks:

1985: Attack on the Italian cruise ship Achille Lauro

 March 14, 2008: Attack against an Israeli military bus in Huwarah, Israel,

March 14, 2008: Attack involved a PLF “brigade” firing at an Israeli settler south of the Hebron Mountain, seriously wounding him

 May 1990: attack on Israel’s Nizanim beach, near Tel-Aviv

The PLF was suspected of supporting terrorism against Israel by other Palestinian groups into the 1990s.

Ideological Roots:

The group’s ideology focusses on the removal of Israel and the promotion of Palestinian statehood.


The destruction of the State of Israel and the establishment of an independent Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital.


Largely targets Israel and plans attacks to destabilize peace negotiations between PLO and Israel.

Uses small arms and rockets.

Recent Articles

Profile Last Updated: 1/21/2016

View References

  1. “Chapter 6. Foreign Terrorist Organizations.” Country Reports on Terrorism 2011. U.S. Department of State. Last Modified July 31, 2012. Accessed January 20, 2016. http://www.state.gov/j/ct/rls/crt/2011/195553.htm#PLF
  2. “Currently Listed Entities.” Public Safety Canada. Last modified November 20, 2014. Accessed January 20, 2016. http://www.publicsafety.gc.ca/cnt/ntnl-scrt/cntr-trrrsm/lstd-ntts/crrnt-lstd-ntts-eng.aspx#2039
  3. “Palestine Liberation Front (PLF).” Global Security. Accessed January 20, 2016. http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/para/plf.htm

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