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U.S. Responds Coolly to Reports That Libya Has Expelled Abul Abbas

November 6, 1990
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

The State Department has responded coolly to reports that Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi has expelled 145 members of the Palestine Liberation Front and closed four of its training camps.

Richard Boucher, the department’s deputy spokesman, said Monday that the United States would welcome such a development “if it were true.” But he said there are many other terrorist groups being sheltered in Libya.

The expulsion, which had been rumored during the last week, was confirmed Sunday in Baghdad by Mohammed (Abul) Abbas, the leader of one of the factions of the PLF, a constituent group of the Palestine Liberation Organization.

Abbas masterminded the October 1985 hijacking of the cruise ship Achille Lauro and an unsuccessful raid on Tel Aviv beaches in May.

Boucher said the expulsion does not mean Libya has ended its support of the Abul Abbas group. “Moreover Libya still provides support to a number of other terrorists groups, including the notorious Abu Nidal organization, which in fact is still headquartered in Tripoli,” he said.

Boucher said Abu Nidal has been increasing his ties with Iraq while continuing to have his headquarters in Libya. Abbas has been based in Iraq since 1982.

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