Ali Hassan Salama assumed senior security and political duties in the Palestine Liberation Organization (social media sites)

A Palestinian resistance fighter and activist, and one of the leaders of the Palestine Liberation Organization, nicknamed the “Red Prince.” He commanded special operations against Israeli intelligence, and was considered the first to lead the military apparatus “Force 17” to protect former Palestinian President Yasser Arafat.

Birth and upbringing

Ali Hassan Salama - whose nickname is Abu Hassan - was born on April 1, 1941 in Iraq. His origins go back to the village of Qula in the Lod District in Palestine. His father, Hassan Salama, was one of the leaders of the Holy Jihad Army, which was led by Mufti Haj Amin al-Husseini in the 1948 war, and one of the leaders of the Holy Jihad Army. Companions of the Palestinian freedom fighter Abdul Qader Al-Husseini.

The Salama family took refuge in Lebanon for a short period after the Nakba, then returned to Ramallah, where Abu Hassan completed high school. He loved engineering and languages, so he went to Switzerland to study languages ​​before moving to Germany, and there he lived for a period without political interests, then he went to Egypt, where he obtained a degree. Bachelor of Commerce from Cairo University in 1963.

Salama married twice, the first to Nishrwan Sharif Mansour, who gave birth to his two sons, Hassan and Osama. After moving to Lebanon, in 1978, he married Georgina Rizk, who was pregnant when he was assassinated.

The beginning of the guerrilla experience

Salama did not have any political interests until the beginning of the Palestinian revolution, when some of the founders of the Palestinian National Liberation Movement (Fatah) visited him to call on him to revolution in the hope that he would succeed his father. He responded to them and joined the movement in 1963, and his orientations and ideas changed in favor of the Palestinian resistance.

The following year he moved to Kuwait, which was one of his main stations, as he managed the Popular Organization Department in the Palestine Liberation Organization office, and headed the Palestine Students Union in Kuwait in 1965.

Salama’s stay in Kuwait was not long, as he was sent to receive a security course in Cairo in 1968, and after his return he worked as Deputy Commissioner of Central Monitoring for the movement specialized in monitoring and spying on the occupation. He settled in Amman, the capital of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, and remained there until he left with Arafat following the September battles. the black.

Black September events

The Fatah movement, along with the Jordanian army, achieved a major victory over Israel in the Battle of Karama in 1968, which led to the growth of the movement’s influence in Amman, as many young people from Iraq, Lebanon, and Jordan joined it. As a result of this growth, decision-makers in Jordan became concerned.

The Jordanian authorities launched a campaign of harassment against the Fatah movement and the resistance, which led to clashes that culminated when the Jordanian regime decided to attack the movement and expel it from the country in September 1970 in events known in the media as “Black September,” which ended with Fatah being completely expelled from Jordan to... Lebanon.

During this period, Abu Hassan Salama was accompanying Yasser Arafat and responsible for his security until they left together for Cairo to attend a joint dialogue with the Jordanian regime, and the agreement ended with the movement’s withdrawal from all cities in Jordan and its concentration on the Jordanian-Palestinian border.

A new beginning from Lebanon

Salama became responsible for protecting Arafat since their departure from Jordan, and he sought to develop and increase the professionalism of the Fatah movement’s security apparatus. He founded “Forces 17,” which was initially responsible for Arafat’s security.

The accumulation of his security experience, due to his training and the tasks assigned to him, led to his war with Israel being primarily a security intelligence war. His war was on two fronts: the first was to detect and pursue agents of the Israeli foreign intelligence service (Mossad), and the other was to avoid attacks by this agency.

Since 1970, Lebanon has become a base for the security war led by Salameh against the Mossad. His name was associated with many specific operations, such as the parcel bombs that were sent from Amsterdam to Mossad agents in Europe. One of the victims of those operations was the Mossad officer residing in London, Amir Shishori.

Salama also intensified his efforts to uncover the spy networks affiliated with the Mossad, specifically in Lebanon, which was one of the arenas of conflict after the concentration of Palestinian guerrilla action there. His efforts succeeded in uncovering many spies, most notably Amina al-Mufti, who was spying on the Palestinian factions for the benefit of Israel.

Ali Salama (right) with former Palestinian President Yasser Arafat (social networking sites)

Salama's name was also associated with the "Black September" organization, which launched several operations, the most famous of which was the "Munich Operation", where a number of members of the organization detained a number of Israeli athletes during the 1972 Olympic Games, demanding the release of Palestinian prisoners, and it ended with the killing of the kidnappers and abductees. It claimed Israel later confirmed that the assassination of Salameh was part of its campaign to liquidate those involved in that operation.

But the Israeli narrative was contradicted in 1999 by Muhammad Daoud Odeh - who was known by his nom de guerre Abu Daoud, and he was one of the founders of the Black September organization - when he confirmed in his memoirs that he was responsible for the operation, not Hassan Salama, and said that Jordanian intelligence forced him at the time to adopt a false narrative that absolved him of responsibility. .

According to Odeh, the former Jordanian intelligence director, Muhammad Rasul al-Kilani, advised the King of Jordan to pardon him and other Palestinians who stood with him to refute the criticism that al-Kilani was subjected to following the Munich operation, and prompted Odeh to read a statement denying his connection to the operation on Amman Radio.

Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir dubbed Salameh the “Red Prince” and placed him at the top of the list of those most wanted for assassination. Israel has repeatedly sought to assassinate him, and “Operation Lillehammer” was one of those failed attempts.

In addition to his duties as responsible for protecting Yasser Arafat and managing the movement’s security file, he assumed other tasks, the most important of which was opening channels of communication, whether with local or international parties. In Lebanon, tension began to increase during the seventies until the outbreak of the Lebanese Civil War in 1975, and Salama had talents. A versatile personality with good relations with many factions and forces on the Lebanese scene, including the Christian factions, he then became one of those responsible for negotiating with those factions during the war.

Black September Organization

Salama called for the establishment of the “Black September Organization” to avenge the martyrs and “kill everyone who betrayed the revolution,” and to prove that the transfer of the Palestinian struggle to Lebanon does not limit its horizons, but rather it can reach anywhere.

Some accounts say that this organization was a secret arrangement of the Fatah movement, and carried out many operations and assassinations, the most prominent of which was the assassination of the then Jordanian Prime Minister Wasfi al-Tall in Cairo and the Munich and Hamburg operations.

This organization later developed very professional working methods that enabled it to perform its work with high professionalism, appearing to be distinct from its work in Jordan, until after several years it became a confusing and frightening mystery that terrified Israeli public opinion because of its successive operations and because of the fog that surrounded it and obscured its reality.

The "Black September Organization" was causing embarrassment to the Fatah movement because of its commitments in Lebanon and its public relations, but this secret organization partially spared it from the embarrassment by denying the matter, claiming the existence of organizations beyond control, and following a policy of not announcing any operation until the other party announces it.

Ali Hassan Salama, Prime Minister Golda Meir called him the “Red Prince” (social networking sites)

Failed assassination attempt

Norway woke up on July 21, 1973, to the news of the killing of a young Moroccan man named Ahmed Bouchikhi, who was working as a waiter in a restaurant in the town of Lillehammer. It turned out that Ahmed had been mistakenly killed by Mossad agents, as they thought he was the Palestinian leader Ali Hassan Salama. This operation constituted A loud scandal for the Mossad, but it was only an episode in a fierce struggle between Abu Hassan and the Mossad that lasted for nearly a decade.

Safety communications with intelligence services

Salama's communication was not limited to the factions in the Lebanese arena only, as some sources indicate that he opened channels of communication with many Western intelligence agencies, including the CIA, since his move to Lebanon in 1970.

It formed a secret communication channel between the Palestine Liberation Organization and the United States, and this relationship contributed to the protection of American citizens in Beirut and the exposure of a number of Mossad agents. Some indicate that Israel’s goal to assassinate Salameh was not motivated by revenge for the Munich operation, but rather because of his success in direct communication with intelligence. American.

Among those who adopted this point of view was Kay Byrd, the author of a biography of the CIA officer Robert Ames, who had a personal relationship with Salama. Byrd mentioned this in his book “The Noble Spy: The Life and Death of Robert Ames,” based on the testimonies of former CIA officials.


The Mossad was able to reach Ali Hassan Salama through one of its agents, the British Erica Chambers, who moved to the Middle East under the guise of humanitarian work in a charity to support Palestinian refugees. She was able to meet Salama in Beirut and monitor his movements.

On January 22, 1979, after Salameh left his wife Georgina’s house in Beirut, a car bombed by Mossad agents exploded on the road while his car was crossing. He was seriously injured and transported to the American University Hospital, where he died, thus ending a decade of conflict between the Mossad and... Red Prince.

Source: Al Jazeera + websites