Hawatmeh, Najib (1936 or 1937–)

aka Nayef Hawatmeh

Najib Hawatmeh was one of the most powerful Palestinian terrorists during the 1960s and 1970s. Hawatmeh is the founder and leader of the Syria-based militant Marxist group Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP).

Hawatmeh was born to a Greek Orthodox family in Salt, Jordan. He joined Habash's Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, but Hawatmeh's disagreements and power struggles with Habash led him to leave the Popular Front in 1969. He formed the Democratic Front, a Marxist-Leninist organization working to create an independent, secular Palestinian state through revolution, and he brought other more radical Popular Front members into his new organization. The group, which was strongly connected with the U.S.S.R. and other communist countries during the Cold War, has long been based in Damascus, Syria.

During the 1970s, Hawatmeh became famous for masterminding plane hijackings and other terrorist acts. In ...

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