On Friday, a speech by Donald Trump revived the old question of the Iraqi dictator’s support for terrorism. As Kyle Orton points out, in addition to his links to the perpetrators of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, murkier ties to al-Qaeda, and well-known policy of providing money to the families of suicide bombers, Saddam Hussein also harbored and abetted some of the most notorious Palestinian terrorists:
[The Palestinian] Sabri al-Banna, [better known as] Abu Nidal, had many paymasters and agendas in his career as the most infamous international terrorist before Osama bin Laden, but in preparation for that career and for long stretches of it he was sheltered by Saddam. . . .
Al-Banna departed Iraq to Assad’s Syria in 1979, but returned to Saddam’s realm in March 1982. . . . It was from Baghdad that al-Banna attempted to murder Shlomo Argov, Israel’s ambassador to London, sparking Israel’s invasion of Lebanon . . .
[In addition], Muhammad Zaydan (Abu Abbas) led the Palestine Liberation Front (PLF) and directed the taking of hostages aboard the Achille Lauro on October 7, 1985. During the assault, the PLF shot and killed the wheelchair-bound Leon Klinghoffer because he was a Jew, and threw his body overboard. When Italian authorities caught up with Zaydan they had to release him because he was traveling on an Iraqi diplomatic passport—despite being neither Iraqi nor a diplomat. Zaydan [then] moved to Saddam’s Iraq and remained there until he was captured five days after the fall of Saddam’s regime.