Egyptians 'hold' top terror chief Nidal

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The Independent Online
PALESTINIAN EXTREMIST Abu Nidal, "whose reign over a terrorist network in the 1980s made him one of the world's most dangerous men", is being held by authorities in Egypt, the Los Angeles Times reported yesterday.

Quoting unnamed US officials, the LA Times reported that Abu Nidal "apparently was caught after he crossed the border from Libya, where he has been headquartered for several years."

Few additional details were known, the newspaper said.

"Recent reports in the Arab press have suggested that Abu Nidal is ailing, and might require advanced medical care unavailable in Libya." the LA Times reported.

Nidal is linked to "terrorist attacks in 20 countries that killed or injured almost 900 people," the newspaper said. Abu Nidal heads the Fatah Revolutionary Council, one of 12 groups which had its assets frozen by President Bill Clinton in 1995 for waging campaigns to undermine the Middle East peace process.

According to the newspaper, Egypt has denied reports about holding Abu Nidal. The LA Times quoted US officials as saying that the Egyptian government was concerned about potential reaction.

Although Abu Nidal's organisation is smaller than in the past, "it still commands several hundred members in the Mideast, including Lebanon, Sudan, Syria and Iraq, with a 'limited overseas support structure'," according to the State Department's Patterns of Global Terrorism 1997," the LA Times reported.