RAMALLAH, West Bank (AP) -- Abu Nidal, the Palestinian renegade whose name became a byword for international terrorism, was found dead in his Baghdad apartment with multiple gunshot wounds, Palestinian officials said Monday.
Abu Nidal's body was found three days ago, said two senior Palestinian officials in Ramallah who spoke on condition of anonymity. They said the reports they received from Baghdad suggested Abu Nidal had committed suicide but did not explain how that was possible when there was more than one bullet wound.
Word of his death came from his rivals -- in the mid-1970s, Abu Nidal accused Yasser Arafat's Palestinian Liberation Organization of softening in the struggle against Israel and made the PLO his prime target. His gunmen picked off Arafat's most trusted lieutenants.
Abu Nidal spokesman Ghanem Saleh, speaking in Lebanon, said he had only heard the report from news media and had no immediate comment.
Abu Nidal, whose real name is Sabri al-Banna, has been one of the key figure in Middle East terror for the past quarter century and has often changed sides. But Monday, an Israeli analyst said he had been sidelined in the last few years.
"In the last few years he lived in Baghdad with his men, it could possibly have been a one-man show," said Ephraim Inbar, an expert on terrorism at the Begin Sadat Center for Strategic Studies.
The shadowy guerrilla masterminded the killings of both Jews and fellow Palestinians who opposed him. He flitted from one lair to another to avoid capture and switched backers from Iraq to Syria to Libya over the years.
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