- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 22, 2002

From combined dispatches
BAGHDAD Palestinian guerrilla leader Abu Nidal's group yesterday dismissed Iraq's claim that he had committed suicide, saying he had been assassinated by Iraqi intelligence agents.
Iraqi intelligence head Jaleel Haboush said earlier yesterday that Abu Nidal, or Sabri Bana, shot himself as he was about to be arrested and put on trial for entering Iraq illegally. He accused him of "terrorist acts" and of being on the payroll of another country.
"Abu Nidal, an unyielding believer who entered battle on several fronts, could not have attempted suicide for the reasons given," the Fatah-Revolutionary Council said in a statement. The group said it was "a premeditated murder, organized by the Iraqi intelligence services."
Mr. Haboush produced pictures of the bloodied and dying guerrilla, forged passports and ID cards, and pictures of an arsenal found at Abu Nidal's apartment that included assault rifles, silencer-equipped pistols and eight booby-trapped suitcases.
The Fatah-Revolutionary Council was blamed for attacks in 20 countries in which hundreds of people were killed and wounded, mostly during the 1970s and 1980s.
President Bush, who made ousting Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein a top priority, expressed deep skepticism about Baghdad's version of Abu Nidal's death.
"I found it interesting that they said he committed suicide with four bullet wounds to the head, so I'm not exactly sure how he died," Mr. Bush commented on earlier reports at his Crawford, Texas, ranch.
Mr. Haboush, who did not give the date of Abu Nidal's death, said an autopsy showed he died from a single gunshot wound that entered the mouth and pierced his skull.
"A security unit went to inform him that he had entered Iraq illegally and that he should accompany them for interrogation," Mr. Haboush said at a rare media appearance.
"At first he welcomed the idea and then asked to be excused," he said. "He went to his room, locked the door and a shot was heard. He had fired a shot into his mouth. He was taken to hospital but died after around eight hours."

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