Country Report on Terrorism 2019 - Chapter 5 - Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command (PFLP-GC)


Description:  The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command (PFLP-GC) was designated as an FTO on October 8, 1997.  The PFLP-GC split from the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine in 1968, claiming it wanted to concentrate more on resistance and less on politics.  Ahmad Jibril, a former captain in the Syrian army, has led the PFLP-GC since its founding.  The PFLP-GC has close ties to both Syria and Iran.

Activities:  The PFLP-GC carried out dozens of attacks in Europe and the Middle East during the 1970s and 1980s.  The organization was known for conducting cross-border attacks into Israel using unusual means, such as hot-air balloons and motorized hang gliders.  Since the early 1990s, the group has primarily focused on supporting Hizballah’s attacks against Israel, training members of other Palestinian terrorist groups, and smuggling weapons.  More recently, the PFLP-GC has been implicated by Lebanese security officials in several rocket attacks against Israel.  In 2009, the group was responsible for wounding two civilians in an armed attack in Nahariyya, Israel.

In November 2012, the PFLP-GC claimed responsibility for a bus bombing in Tel Aviv that injured 29 people, although four Palestine Islamic Jihad and Hamas operatives later were arrested for the attack.  In 2015, the PFLP-GC reportedly began fighting alongside the Assad regime in Syria, while also receiving logistical and military aid from Hizballah and Iran.

Separately, in December 2015, the PFLP-GC took responsibility for rocket fire aimed at Israeli territory.  The attack, in which at least three rockets were fired from Lebanon into northern Israel, landed near Shlomi, a small town near the Lebanese frontier with Israel.  Although the PFLP-GC did not claim responsibility for any attacks in 2019, the group remained an active participant in the Syrian conflict.

Strength:  The PFLP-GC has several hundred members.

Location/Area of Operation:  Syria, Lebanon, and Gaza

Funding and External Aid:  The PFLP-GC receives safe haven and logistical and military support from Syria as well as financial support from Iran.