[Diary of a Vengeance Foretold] Part 71


“People have said that I might get in trouble if I was with Abu Talb.”

Imad Chaaban

Mahmoud and Mustafa Mograbi, with the help of their brother in law Abu Talb and a friend named Imad Chaaban, aka Marten Imandi, were using Uppsala as a base for their terrorism operations. In 1985 and 1986, they bombed the offices of Northwest Airlines in Copenhagen and Stockholm, an Amsterdam office of Israel’s airline, El Al, and a synagogue in Copenhagen.

On December 24 1989, an Uppsala court found Talb, Chaban and Mahmoud and Mustafa Mograbi guilty of staging the Northwest and El Al bombings. Talb was sentenced to life in prison.

Imad Chaaban was born in Damascus in 1954. Imad, along with his eight brothers and sisters, grew up in extreme poverty. At the young age of 15, Imad joined the PLO. During the next three years, he underwent several months of military training.

Imad and Abu Talb had much in common. Imad was also a highly articulate advocate of the Palestinian cause. But he also campaigned for the creation of an independent state for the Kurdish people while he was still a teenager.

In 1972, Chaaban left for Lebanon. As a full time PLO soldier, he fought the militias from 1972 to 1973 in the south of the country. In the following years, he worked a few odd jobs. In 1977, he studied welding in Malta. There, Chaaban met a Swedish woman. They fell in love and married on September 14 1977. On October 5, they moved to Sweden. In 1980, Chaaban became a Swedish citizen.

Talb, and his wife born Jamilla Moghrabi, moved to Sweden in 1983. Talb and Imandi became close friends. It appears that Talb really tried to start a new life. But he was unable to acclimatize to Sweden. He was unable to secure a decent job. And after the failure of his marriage, he went back to the only thing that ever meant something to him: fighting for the Palestinian cause. Talb easily convinced his brothers in Law and his best friend to conduct acts of terrorism against Israeli targets.

In Uppsala, Imandi was running a grocery store. Beside himself, two “Libyan nationals” were working in the market: Khalud and Manzem Chaaban (Khabaan). The BKA established that they were members of Ahmed Jibril PFLP-GC. But the BKA also suspected that the Khabaans were working for an even more dangerous organization: the Abu Nidal Group.

On December 21 1988, four members of the Mogrhabi family flew from Malta to Heathrow. The fact that four in laws of Abu Talb, a man strongly suspected to have play a role in the downing of Pan Am 103, had been at Heathrow airport the very day of the tragedy was never investigated.

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