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US Troops Detain Convicted Palestinian Terrorist Abu Abbas - 2003-04-16

U.S. forces in Iraq have captured fugitive Palestinian terrorist Mohamed "Abu" Abbas, the mastermind of the 1985 hijacking of the cruise ship Achille Lauro.

A U.S. official tells VOA Abu Abbas was captured by Special Operations forces in a house on the outskirts of Baghdad together with several other people, weapons and documents.

No other details are immediately available. But the Palestinian terrorist leader was wanted both by Italy and the United States in connection with the hijacking of an Italian cruise ship in 1985 in the eastern Mediterranean, resulting in the death of a disabled elderly American man.

Since that attack, Abu Abbas' group, the Palestine Liberation Front has been based in Iraq.

Last week, Marines discovered what may have been the group's training camp east of Baghdad, a site with a dozen reinforced concrete buildings with a large parade field, an obstacle course and a shooting range.

Inside they found flags of the Palestine Liberation Front and portraits of Abu Abbas together with bomb-making materials.