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Iraq says terrorist leader killed himself

Abu Nidal
Abu Nidal in 1980  

BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- International terrorist leader Abu Nidal committed suicide after Iraqi officials accused him of conspiring with anti-Iraqi forces against the government, Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz confirmed Tuesday.

"Yes, he committed suicide. Tomorrow there will be a meeting with a high-ranking Iraqi official with you, and he will give you all the details of this incident," Aziz told reporters.

Abu Nidal, 65, was found shot to death in his Baghdad apartment over the weekend. Aziz's comments were Baghdad's first official confirmation of his suicide. Palestinian sources also said the militant killed himself.

A senior Iraqi official told CNN earlier Tuesday that Abu Nidal committed suicide after Iraqi officials accused him of conspiring with forces outside Iraq against the government. The official's disclosure was highly unusual.

The senior Iraqi official, who spoke on condition his name not be used, said Abu Nidal entered Iraq using a false name and false passport, and when he was discovered he was put under house arrest.

In recent days, Iraq authorities discovered Abu Nidal was conspiring against the Iraqi government with forces outside Iraq, including Kuwait, the official said.

When confronted with the alleged conspiracy, Abu Nidal chose to commit suicide, the official said.

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The terrorist leader had a reputation as one of the most ruthless Palestinian guerrilla commanders.

As the head of Fatah Revolutionary Council group, Nidal broke with the Palestine Liberation Organization in 1974, saying the PLO and its leader, Yasser Arafat, were too moderate.

The Fatah Revolutionary Council is considered an international terrorist organization by the U.S. State Department, which says the group goes by several other names, including Abu Nidal Organization and the Arab Revolutionary Council.

Abu Nidal and his group have been blamed for more than 90 terrorist attacks that killed hundreds of people over the past three decades. The attacks struck at Middle Eastern, European and U.S. targets.

Israel launched an invasion of Lebanon aimed at Arafat and repelling terrorists after Abu Nidal's operatives attempted to assassinate the Israeli ambassador to Britain in June 1982.




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