Abu Nidal's man shot dead

WALED KHALED, the best- known figure in Abu Nidal's Palestinian 'Fatah Revolutionary Council' - the most notorious assassination group in the Middle East - was shot dead in the Mar Elias refugee camp in west Beirut yesterday. Police said Khaled, 42, was driving into Beirut's Mar Elias refugee camp in his dark- blue Mercedes-Benz when assailants in a white estate car raked him with silenced sub-machine- gun fire.

Khaled was the second activist of Abu Nidal's group to be assassinated in Lebanon within a week. Deported from Brussels last year after being recognised in a restaurant, it was Waled Khaled, Abu Nidal's chief spokesman, who negotiated with French and Belgian ambassadors in Beirut before the release by Libya of two French and Belgian families abducted aboard the pleasure boat Silco in the Mediterranean. In an affair that appeared to have some French secret service involvment, Khaled claimed that Abu Nidal's organisation kidnapped the families in the first place and freed them on the 'wishes' of Colonel Gaddafi, shortly after the colonel had received two fighter-bombers from France.

Waled Khaled, whose lean features with their deep scars made him a familiar figure in Beirut, was thus present at a Beirut press conference when the Libyan prime minister paid an official visit, denying any Libyan involvement in the Lockerbie bombing.

SIDON - Israeli warplanes carried out at least seven bombing raids on suspected hideouts of Shia Muslim guerrillas in south Lebanon yesterday, wounding two, AP reports.