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Arafat, Yasir (1929–)

aka Abu Ammar

During his lengthy tenure as a Palestinian leader, Yasir Arafat has played many roles—from terrorist to recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize. Chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and leader of the Palestinian Authority, Arafat remains a polemic figure, as famous for his fiery speeches as he is for sporting an unshaven chin and a checkered kaffiyeh, always shaped into a point to symbolize the map of Palestine.

Although Arafat, whose nom de guerre is Abu Ammar, has cooperated with many biographers and given countless interviews, many details of his life are uncertain. No consensus exists on his date or place of birth, for instance. His birth certificate shows Arafat to have been born Mohammed Abder Rauf Arafat al-Kudwa al-Husseini in Cairo on August 24, 1929; Arafat maintains that he was born in Jerusalem on August 4, 1929.

Arafat, the ...

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