Abu al-Abbas was one of Yasser Arafat’s top generals. His name is forever linked to an operation in 1985 that sparked an international crisis: the hijacking of an Italian cruise liner named the Achille Lauro and the death of Leon Klinghoffer, an elderly American tourist. This memoir by the wife of Abu al-Abbas recalls an era of Palestinian resistance, the hard realities of a cause that faced impossible odds, and the irony that the death of a single man should outweigh all arguments of right and wrong.
“Abu al-Abbas told his wife . . . that his intention was “to carry out an honorable operation against the Israeli Army . . . . I wanted them to reach Ashdod: not to fight the passengers on board [the Achille Lauro].”
[Abu al-Abbas] was to be haunted by the crime for the rest of his life. And when he died mysteriously in US custody in a Baghdad prison camp after America’s 2003 invasion, all the world remembered of Al-Abbas was a crippled man called Leon Klinghoffer. No-one cared how an apparently healthy man would die in American hands.”
—Robert Fisk, The Independent