Two Guerrilla Groups in Clash over U.S. Plan; Arab Summit Meeting Begins

The split in the Palestinian guerrilla ranks deepened this morning with reports of clashes in the Jordan Valley between the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, headed by Dr. George Habash, and the Action Organization for the Liberation of Palestine, a guerrilla splinter group. The guerrilla disunity began last Thursday when the Action Organization, along with the Arab Palestine Organization, endorsed Egypt’s acceptance of the United States peace initiative. The PFLP is militantly opposed to any peace settlement with Israel. There were fears that today’s fighting might spread to Amman, where guerrillas battled Jordanian troops in June. (In Cairo, the authoritative newspaper A1 Ahram said Egypt would “keep its hands free to move politically in the light of its national responsibilities.” This was seen as representing Egypt’s determination to withstand guerrilla opposition to the government’s acceptance of the U.S. plan. Meanwhile, Arab leaders opened their summit meeting in Tripoli today without the participation of Iraq and Algeria, which have condemned Egypt for accepting the U.S. initiative. Libya’s revolutionary leader, Col. Muammar Al-Qaddhafi. returned to his capital last night from Baghdad, where he was unsuccessful in urging Iraqi leaders to join the conference.)

(The Libyan Revolutionary Command Council, which has not yet taken a formal position on the U.S. plan, declared last night that it “stands firmly at the side of Egypt” and decries “slanderous campaigns” against “the reputation of President Gamal Abdel Nasser as the leader of the Arab nation.” It also said it would continue financial aid to the guerrilla movement, especially El Fatah, “as long as it carries on its liberation drive and maintains unity of Palestinian action.” The countries represented at Tripoli are Egypt, Jordan and the Sudan, which have endorsed the U.S. initiative; Syria, which has denounced but not formally rejected it, and Libya. The conference was postponed from Monday to give Col. al-Qaddhafi, who took power last September, time to try to get Iraq to participate. He also conferred briefly at the Damascus airport with Syrian president Nurredin Al-Attasi. Al Ahram assailed Iraq yesterday as “a bloody, isolated regime” that was “seeking a role for itself in the Arab world after the isolation it brought upon itself by the bloody liquidation operations it undertook since coming to power (in 1968).” Top Iraqi officials arrived in Moscow yesterday for consultations at the Kremlin. The Sudan withdraw yesterday its suspensions of Palestinian broadcasts that had criticized her and Egypt’s acceptance of the U.S. plan.)

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