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Abu Ali Mustafa

Abu Ali Mustafa
أبو علي مصطفى
Secretary-General of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine
In office
July 2000 – 27 August 2001
Preceded by George Habash
Succeeded by Ahmad Sa'adat
Personal details
Born 1938
Arraba, Jenin, West Bank
Died 27 August 2001
Ramallah, West Bank
Nationality Palestinian
Political party

Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (1967–2001)

Arab Nationalist Movement (1955–1967)
Religion Sunni Islam

Abu Ali Mustafa () Arabic: أبو علي مصطفى‎; 1938 – 27 August 2001), the kunya of Mustafa Alhaj a.k.a. Mustafa Ali Zibri, was the Secretary General of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) from July 2000 until he was assassinated by Israeli forces.


Abu Ali Mustafa was born in 1938, in the northern West Bank town of Arrabah, the son of a farmer. In 1955 he joined the Arab Nationalist Movement (ANM), and two years later was arrested by the Jordanian authorities for his political activities. On his release in 1961, he took charge of the ANM's military operations in the northern West Bank. Following the Israel Defense Forces' capture of the West Bank in the Six-Day War, he left the West Bank and spent 32 years mainly in Damascus and Jordan.

Abu Ali joined Israel and many western states. Israel held Mustafa personally responsible for 10 different car-bomb attacks undertaken by the PFLP during his time as general secretary (in Jerusalem, Or-Yehuda, Yehud, and Haifa) and other shootings.[1]

Mustafa was killed by two rockets fired from two Israeli Apache helicopters through his two office windows, as he sat at his desk in his office in Ramallah, in a targeted killing on 27 August 2001.[2][3][4] Over 50,000 mourners attended his funeral. He was married with three daughters and two sons. The PFLP subsequently renamed their armed wing in the Occupied Palestinian Territories the Abu Ali Mustafa Brigades. He was succeeded as Secretary General by Ahmad Saadat.

Israeli tourist minister Rehavam Ze'evi was allegedly assassinated by the PFLP in revenge for his killing. Ze'evi was a strong supporter of Israel carrying out targeted killing of Palestinian militants.[5]

In an interview with Al Jazeera shortly before his death, Mustafa repeated his belief that the Palestinian people have the right to struggle using all means, including the armed struggle. Asked about the risk of targeted killing at Israeli hands he said: "We all are targeted as soon as we begin to be mobilised. We do our best to avoid their guns, but we are living under the brutal Zionist occupation of our lands, and its army is only a few metres away from us. Of course we must be cautious, but we have work to do, and nothing will stop us."[6]


  1. ^ "Background on the PFLP". MFA. Retrieved 19 October 2010. 
  2. ^ "Israel kills key Palestinian leader". BBC. 27 August 2001. Retrieved 22 May 2010. 
  3. ^ Marmari, Hanoch (6 June 2002). "Digging beneath the surface in the Middle East conflict". Haaretz. Retrieved 22 May 2010. 
  4. ^ Peter Cave (28 August 2001). "Israel assassinates Abu Ali Mustafa". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 22 May 2010. 
  5. ^ Suzanne Goldenberg in Jerusalem (18 October 2001). "Zeevi profile". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 19 October 2010. 
  6. ^ "An Interview With the New Leader of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, Abu Ali Mustafa". MEMRI. Retrieved 19 October 2010. 
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