Terror career over: George Habash, the founder of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, died Saturday evening at his home in Amman, a senior Jordanian official said. Habash was 82-years-old.
Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas declared three days of mourning in the wake of Habash's death. The PA chairman also ordered Palestinian flags to be brought down to half mast and mourners to be received at the presidential office in Ramallah.
Habash was born in Lod to Greek Orthodox parents and became a refugee in the wake of the 1948 war. He was a medical student at The American University of Beirut, and was among the founders of the Arab Nationalist Movement in the 1950s.
Survived several assassination attemptsIn 1969, Habash became the head of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, a Marxist group that carried out numerous terror attacks and "specialized" in hijacking planes across the world. Habash joined the PLO leadership in 1970, but quit four years later because of disagreements with Chairman Yasser Arafat, and proceeded to establish the "Rejectionist Front" of Palestinian groups opposed to any talks with Israel.
Habash was considered to be closely associated with Syria, supported the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in 1990, and was considered to be among the most radical Palestinian leaders and a persistent opponent of compromise with Israel.
During his life, Habash survived several assassination attempts, but one of them left him partially paralyzed. In 1973, Israel intercepted a Jordanian passenger plane in a bid to detain him, but he was not among the passengers. In 2000, Habash announced he was resigning as leader of the PFLP due to health reasons.
Ali Waked contributed to the story