Arafat Has Survived Assassination Attempts, Bombings, Plane Crash With AM-Arafat, Bjt
NICOSIA, Cyprus (AP) _ Yasser Arafat has led a charmed life, surviving assassination attempts, Israeli air strikes and a plane crash in the Libyan desert during his 40-year struggle to regain a Palestinian homeland.
His doctors in Amman, Jordan, said Arafat was doing well Monday after surgery to remove blood clots that developed in his brain as a result of the April 8 crash, during which Arafat banged his head.
Although his life was not in danger, the PLO chairman’s hospitalization was another reminder that he is getting on in years - Arafat is 62 - and has used up more luck than most men.
His political future could be affected by perceptions of vulnerability. Many leaders in the Palestinian Liberation Organization have been pressing Arafat to relinquish some control.
Palestinian officials say Arafat has survived as many as 50 asassination plots by the Israelis and by renegade Palestinians such as terrorist leader Abu Nidal, who split with Arafat in 1973.
Arafat’s late security chief, Salah Khalaf, once described to Arafat’s biographer, Alan Hart, how the PLO leader survived.
″Sixty percent is Arafat himself - his nose for danger,″ he said. ″Thirty percent is good luck. Ten percent we can put down to the effectiveness of our own security agencies.″
Khalaf was slain in Tunis in 1991 by a renegade Palestinian.
After the six-day Arab-Israeli war of 1967, in which the Arabs suffered a resounding defeat, Arafat infiltrated the occupied West Bank to organize guerrilla cells. He moved past Israeli soldiers in disguise, sometimes dressed as a woman.
When the Israelis sent an armored force across the Jordan River in March 1968 to smash his base, Arafat led his men in battling off the assault. He became an Arab hero.
The next year Arafat drove his Mercedes into a truck on the Amman-Baghdad highway, and lay unconscious on the highway for hours. He was rescued.
In September 1970, when King Hussein of Jordan sent his Bedouin troops against the Palestinians, Arafat was a prime target. His guerrillas were driven out of the Hashemite kingdom, but Arafat survived.
Israeli air force fighter-bombers hit Arafat’s Beirut headquarters during the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982.
The seven-story building was destroyed.
Arafat wasn’t inside it.
Agents loyal to Syrian President Hafez Assad ambushed Arafat’s convoy in Lebanon in June 1983, but failed to kill him.
On Oct. 1, 1985, the Israelis bombed PLO headquarters outside Tunis in retaliation for the slaying of three Israelis.
Forty-seven people were killed and nearly 60 wounded. Arafat had left the seaside complex seven minutes earlier.