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Headed by Yasser Arafat, Fatah joined the PLO in 1968 and won the leadership role in 1969. Its commanders were expelled from Jordan following violent confrontations with Jordanian forces during the period 1970-71, beginning with Black September in 1970. The Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982 led to the group's dispersal to several Middle Eastern countries, including Tunisia, Yemen, Algeria, Iraq, and others. Maintains several military and intelligence wings that have carried out terrorist attacks, including Force 17, the Hawari Special Operations Group, Tanzim and the Al Aqsa Marytrs Brigade.


In the 1960s and the 1970s, Fatah offered training to a wide range of European, Middle Eastern, Asian, and African terrorist and insurgent groups. Carried out numerous acts of international terrorism in Western Europe and the Middle East in the 1970s. It has since been linked to terrorist attacks against Israeli and foreign civilians in Israel and the occupied territories.


6,000 to 8,000.

External Aid

Has had close, longstanding political and financial ties to Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and other Persian Gulf states. These relations were disrupted by the Gulf crisis of 1990-91. Also has had links to Jordan. Received weapons, explosives, and training from the former USSR and the former Communist regimes of East European states. China and North Korea have reportedly provided some weapons.

Sources and Resources

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Created by John Pike
Maintained by Steven Aftergood
Updated Saturday, August 08, 1998 7:35:41 AM