PALESTINE Liberation Organization Chairman Yasser Arafat's right-hand man and two other members of the PLO were assassinated in Tunis Jan. 14. by one of their own security guards. The killings were blamed by Palestinian sources on a Libyan-supported group led by dissident guerrilla Abu Nidal.
Salah Khalaf, better known as Abu Iyad, the No. 2 official in the Fatah movement, and Hael Abdel-Hamid, also known as Abu Hol, the PLO's chief of security, were gunned down at Abu Hol's villa, Palestinian officials said. A counselor to Abu Hol, Abu Mohammed Omri, also died in the shooting the sources said.
Palestinian sources called the gunman, who surrendered Jan. 15 after a standoff with authorities, a ``repentant'' former member of the Fatah Revolutionary Council.
At the United Nations, PLO permanent observer Nasser al-Kidwa blamed Israel for the killings.
Abu Iyad and Abu Hol were killed ``in a terrorist act committed by Israeli agents,'' Mr. Kidwa said. Israeli authorities denied any knowledge of the slayings.
Abu Iyad, was known as the foremost hard-liner of Mr. Arafat's Fatah group within the PLO, though in recent years he adopted Arafat's moderate peace plan for a ``two-state solution'' to the Palestinian problem, recognizing Israel's right to exist.
Abu Iyad was said to have masterminded the 1972 Munich Olympics massacre of 11 Israeli athletes with an underground faction named ``Black September.''
A Palestinian group ``called on [its] people to avenge this crime and punish the killers by escalating the military struggle against Israel.''