Ali Hassan Salameh

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Ali Hassan Salameh
Ali Hassan Salameh
Nickname(s)Red Prince
Qula, British Mandate for Palestine
Died22 January 1979(1979-01-22) (aged 38–39)
Beirut, Lebanon
Allegiance PLO
Black September
Years of service1958–1979
RankChief of operations
Unit Force 17
Battles/wars Munich Massacre, Sabena Flight 571

Ali Hassan Salameh (Arabic : علي حسن سلامة, ʿAlī Ḥasan Salāmah) (1940 – 22 January 1979) was the chief of operations—code name Abu Hassan—for Black September , the organization responsible for the 1972 Munich massacre and other terror attacks. He was also the founder of Force 17. He was assassinated by Mossad in January 1979. [1]

A code name or cryptonym is a word or name used, sometimes clandestinely, to refer to another name, word, project or person. Names are often used for military purposes, or in espionage. They may also be used in industrial counter-industrial espionage to protect secret projects and the like from business rivals, or to give names to projects whose marketing name has not yet been determined. Another reason for the use of names and phrases in the military is that they transmit with a lower level of cumulative errors over a walkie-talkie or radio link than actual names.

The Black September Organization (BSO) was a Palestinian terrorist organization founded in 1970. It was responsible for the assassination of the Jordanian Prime Minister Wasfi Tal, and the Munich massacre, in which eleven Israeli athletes and officials were kidnapped and killed, as well a West German policeman losing his life, during the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, their most publicized event. These events led to the creation or specialization of permanent counter-terrorism forces in many European countries.

Munich massacre attack during the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, West Germany

The Munich massacre was an attack during the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, West Germany, in which the Palestinian terrorist group Black September took eleven Israeli Olympic team members hostage and killed them along with a West German police officer.



Salameh was born in the Palestinian town of Qula, near the city of Jaffa, to a wealthy family in 1940. He was the son of Shaykh Hassan Salameh, who was killed in action by the Israeli army during the 1948 Palestine war near Lydda. Ali Salameh was educated in Germany and is thought to have received his military training in Cairo and Moscow [ citation needed ].

Qula castle ruin

Qula was a Palestinian village in the Ramle Subdistrict of Mandatory Palestine. It was located 15 km northeast of Ramla and was depopulated during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War.

Hasan Salama Palestinian commander

Hasan Salama or Hassan Salameh was a commander of the Palestinian Holy War Army in the 1948 Palestine War along with Abd al-Qadir al-Husayni.

Israel Defense Forces combined military forces of Israel

The Israel Defense Forces, commonly known in Israel by the Hebrew acronym Tzahal, are the military forces of the State of Israel. They consist of the ground forces, air force, and navy. It is the sole military wing of the Israeli security forces, and has no civilian jurisdiction within Israel. The IDF is headed by its Chief of General Staff, the Ramatkal, subordinate to the Defense Minister of Israel; Lieutenant General Gadi Eizenkot has served as Chief of Staff since 2015.

He was known for flaunting his wealth, being surrounded by women and driving sports cars, and having a very popular appeal among Palestinian young men; his nickname underlined his popularity—the "Red Prince." He served as the security chief of Fatah. [2] After the Munich Massacre during the 1972 Olympic Games, he was hunted by the Israeli Mossad during Operation Wrath of God. In 1973, Mossad killed an innocent Moroccan waiter, Ahmed Bouchiki, in what became known as the Lillehammer affair in Norway, mistaking Bouchiki for Salameh, and resulting in the arrest of some of the Israeli agents.

Fatah major Palestinian political party

Fatah, formerly the Palestinian National Liberation Movement, is a Palestinian nationalist political party and the largest faction of the confederated multi-party Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and the second-largest party in the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC). The President of the Palestinian Authority is a member of Fatah.

Olympic Games major international sport event

The modern Olympic Games or Olympics are leading international sporting events featuring summer and winter sports competitions in which thousands of athletes from around the world participate in a variety of competitions. The Olympic Games are considered the world's foremost sports competition with more than 200 nations participating. The Olympic Games are held every four years, with the Summer and Winter Games alternating by occurring every four years but two years apart.

Mossad national intelligence agency of Israel

Mossad, short for HaMossad leModiʿin uleTafkidim Meyuḥadim, is the national intelligence agency of Israel. It is one of the main entities in the Israeli Intelligence Community, along with Aman and Shin Bet.

As a result of the failure of Lillehammer and his alleged CIA protection, Salameh felt relatively safe, and hence did not act like a man on the run. Having lived under cover in various parts of the Middle East and Europe, in 1978 he married Georgina Rizk, a Lebanese celebrity who had been Miss Universe seven years earlier in 1971. The couple spent their honeymoon in Hawaii and then stayed at Disneyland, California. [3] When Rizk became pregnant, she returned to her flat in Beirut where Salameh also rented a separate apartment. Rizk was six months pregnant at the time of his death. [4] Their son Ali Salameh is a political science graduate who studied in Canada. [5] By a prior marriage he was a grandson-in-law of Mohammad Amin al-Husayni. He had two sons from his first marriage to Um Hassan. [4] [6]

Georgina Rizk is a Lebanese model, socialite and beauty queen. She was crowned Miss Lebanon 1970 and represented Lebanon at Miss World but failed to place. Months later, 1971, she represented Lebanon at Miss Universe and won. She is currently a main beauty pageant judge for the Miss Lebanon contest and is the current wife of Lebanese singer and actor Walid Toufic.

The Lebanese people are the people inhabiting or originating from Lebanon. The term may also include those who had inhabited Mount Lebanon and Anti-Lebanon mountains prior to the creation of the modern Lebanese state. The religious groups among the Lebanese people are Shias (27%), Sunnis (27%), Maronites (21%), Greek Orthodox (8%), Melkites (5%), Druze (5.6%), Protestants (1%). There is a large diaspora in North America, South America, Europe, Australia and Africa.

Miss Universe annual international beauty contest

Miss Universe is an annual international beauty pageant that is run by the American-based Miss Universe Organization. It airs in more than 190 countries worldwide and seen by more than half a billion people annually. Along with Miss World, Miss International, and Miss Earth, Miss Universe is one of the Big Four international beauty pageants.

According to several sources, Salameh served as a secret contact between the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) from 1970 until his death, guaranteeing not to assassinate US citizens in exchange for financial and political support. However, when asked by the Israelis, the relationship was denied by US officials. [7] He helped protect US citizens in Beirut, and his role was to facilitate contacts between the Palestinians and the US, in hope of obtaining US support for the Palestinians. [1] [8]

Central Intelligence Agency National intelligence agency of the United States

The Central Intelligence Agency is a civilian foreign intelligence service of the federal government of the United States, tasked with gathering, processing, and analyzing national security information from around the world, primarily through the use of human intelligence (HUMINT). As one of the principal members of the United States Intelligence Community (IC), the CIA reports to the Director of National Intelligence and is primarily focused on providing intelligence for the President and Cabinet of the United States.

Beirut City in Lebanon

Beirut is the capital and largest city of Lebanon. No recent population census has been conducted, but 2007 estimates ranged from slightly more than 1 million to 2.2 million as part of Greater Beirut. Located on a peninsula at the midpoint of Lebanon's Mediterranean coast, Beirut is the country's largest and main seaport.


It is believed [9] a Mossad agent, pseudonymously known as "Erika Chambers", a British citizen, took part in Salameh's assassination. She travelled to the Middle East with a charity supporting Palestinian refugees and arranged a meeting with Salameh in Beirut, where Salameh was being harbored by the Lebanese government. Chambers learned Salameh's daily routine.

Erika Chambers is the assumed pseudonym of the Mossad agent behind the action on January 22, 1979 that killed Ali Hassan Salameh, leader of Black September and lead plotter behind the Munich massacre.

United Kingdom Country in Europe

The United Kingdom, officially the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland but more commonly known as the UK or Britain, is a sovereign country lying off the north-western coast of the European mainland. The United Kingdom includes the island of Great Britain, the north-eastern part of the island of Ireland and many smaller islands. Northern Ireland is the only part of the United Kingdom that shares a land border with another sovereign state‍—‌the Republic of Ireland. Apart from this land border, the United Kingdom is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, with the North Sea to the east, the English Channel to the south and the Celtic Sea to the south-west, giving it the 12th-longest coastline in the world. The Irish Sea lies between Great Britain and Ireland. With an area of 242,500 square kilometres (93,600 sq mi), the United Kingdom is the 78th-largest sovereign state in the world. It is also the 22nd-most populous country, with an estimated 66.0 million inhabitants in 2017.

Middle East region that encompasses Western Asia and Egypt

The Middle East is a transcontinental region centered on Western Asia, Turkey, and Egypt. Saudi Arabia is geographically the largest Middle Eastern nation while Bahrain is the smallest. The corresponding adjective is Middle Eastern and the derived noun is Middle Easterner. The term has come into wider usage as a replacement of the term Near East beginning in the early 20th century.

On 22 January 1979, Salameh was in a convoy of two Chevrolet station wagons headed from Rizk's flat to his mother's for a birthday party. [3] [10] Chambers was on her balcony painting, with her red Volkswagen parked below on Rue Verdun (an upscale commercial and residential street in Beirut). As Salameh's convoy passed the Volkswagen at 3:35 pm and turned onto Rue Madame Curie, [11] 100 kg of explosive attached to the car by a fellow Mossad agent was remotely exploded, [1] either by Chambers or on her notification to another Mossad agent. [12]

The detonation left Salameh conscious, but severely wounded and in great pain, having pieces of steel shrapnel embedded in his head and throughout his body. He was rushed to the American University Hospital, where he died on the operating table at 4:03 p.m. [13] Salameh's four bodyguards were also killed in the explosion. [14] Four bystanders were also killed. [1] [12] In addition, at least 16 people were injured in the blast. [14] Immediately following the operation, the three Mossad officers escaped as well as up to 14 other Mossad agents believed to have been involved in the operation. [12]


Salameh was buried in Beirut after a public funeral ceremony attended by Yasser Arafat and about 20,000 Palestinians on 24 January 1979. [15]


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  5. Ali Salamah, Georgina Rizk's son got married in Cairo, Egypt
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  9. "Munich (3): BBC set to name woman agent who killed Olympics massacre mastermind". 24 January 2006.
  10. University of Southampton New Reporter. People. 9 (17). 8 March 1992.CS1 maint: Untitled periodical (link)
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  12. 1 2 3 "Death of a Terrorist". Time Magazine . 5 February 1979. Retrieved 17 August 2012.
  13. Simon Reeve (1 September 2000). One day in September. Arcade Publishing. ISBN   978-1559705479.
  14. 1 2 "Munich massacre leader killed in Beirut explosion". Observer Reporter. Beirut. AP. 23 January 1979. Retrieved 18 December 2012.
  15. "Funeral held for Salameh". The Leader Post. Beirut. 25 January 1979. Retrieved 18 December 2012.
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  17. Robert Ludlum (1 July 2008). The Janson Directive. St. Martin's Paperbacks. p. 581. ISBN   978-0312945152.