[Diary of a Vengeance Foretold] Part 72
SEPTEMBER 12 1988
“Sometimes people call me and asked if anyone had phoned for Dalkamoni. I remember Abu Talb and Abu Nidal.”
Habib al Dajani – Syrian restaurant owner in Nicosia, Cyprus
Today, Dalkamoni goes to Cyprus where the PFLP-GC maintains a bank account. Dalkamoni has full control over the account. Bank records show that its state has fluctuated from one US$ million to several millions. Dalkamoni has been in Cyprus earlier this year in February and in May.
Haffez Kassem Dalkamoni is, beside Jibril himself, one of two other members of the PFLP-GC known to have participated with Iranian officials in the discussions regarding the revenge for the USS Vincennes “incident”. The other is Major Tunayb, who was the head of the organization Intelligence branch.
Dalkamoni was born on Sept. 28 1945 in Damascus according to his BKA files. But others have reported that in was born in Palestine. Dalkamoni developed since his childhood a deep hatred for the State of Israel.
Dalkamoni was arrested by Israeli security force before he reached his tenth anniversary. He has been a member of the PFLP-GC since its creation in Oct. 1968. In 1969, he lost his lower right leg during a raid in Northern Israel. Ten years later, Dalkamoni was released from jail in a prisoners exchange arranged by Jibril.
In August 1987, Dalkamoni organized the bombing of an American troop train in Hedemunde, Germany. In January 1988, Dalkamoni moved to the city of Neuss, near Dusseldorf where he stayed in an apartment at 16 Isarstrasse. The apartment was rented by Hashem Abassi, his brother-in-law. Dalkamoni was married to Hannah, the sister of Somaia Abassi.
In Sept 1988, after finalization of the deal between Jibril and top Iranian officials, Dalkamoni travelled to Krusevac, Yugoslavia, where the PFLP_GC was operating a safe house. His host was Mobdi Goben, aka Abu Fuad, a long time member of the PFLP-GC. The house was packed with weapons, explosives such Semtex-H and detonators, including barometric ones.
The MOSSAD has an extensive background file on Dalkamoni. According to their reports which were shared with Western Intelligence, Jibril appointed Dalkamoni as the leader of the PFLP-GC at the time of his move to Neuss.
Known by more than a dozen names, Dalkamoni was using several false passports, including a special one issued by the Syrian Foreign Ministry. Ordinary ones are issued by the Interior Ministry. Thus, there can be little doubt that Damascus was actively supporting Palestinian terrorist in Europe during 87 and 88.
In Germany, Dalkamoni was collaborating closely with Abdel Fattah Ghadanfar, a Palestinian born on Dec. 14 1949 in Irbid, Jordan. Ghadanfar resided in Damascus until he was instructed by Jibril to move to West Germany where he lived in a safe house located at 28 Sandweg in Frankfurt. Ghadanfar used many at least nine alias, one of them being Nabil Massoud.
On Feb. 2 1988, the MOSSAD warned the BKA that the PFLP-GC was about to bomb a train in Germany. On April 26, Dalkamoni and Ghadanfar bombed another US train, once more in Hedemunde, Germany. Why the warning was ignored has never been explained. Unfortunately, this will not be the last of the MOSSAD warnings to be ignored by the BKA and US intelligence.
During October 1988, the BKA ran a round-the-clock surveillance operation to track closely the moves and communications of sixteen members of the PFLP-GC in Germany. On Oct 26 they arrested Dalkamoni, Ghadanfar and fourteen other suspects. NB. This operation will be described in great details next month.
All but Dalkamoni and Ghadanfar were released in a matter of days, including the senior bomb maker of the group Marwan Abdel Khreesat. The release of Khreesat is certainly puzzling considering that an international arrest warrant had been issued against him for his role in the 1972 bombing of an El Al plane bound for Tel Aviv from Rome.
An Italian court had sentenced Khreesat in abstencia to 18 years of jail. Khreesat left the PFLP-GC in 1973 but reintegrated the organization in 1986. In September 1988, Jibril also sent him to the Krusevac safe house where he met both Goben and Dalkamoni. Why was he allowed to return to Syria instead of being turned to Italian law authority?
In 1991, Ghadanfar and Dalkamoni were sentenced to 12 and 15 years on terrorism charges for their role in the bombing of the US trains in Germany. Neither man ever served his full sentence. Ghadanfar was released on November 9 1994. Dalkamoni was released on 27 June 1995. Both were deported to Syria. In both cases, Iran had negotiated their extradition to Syria in complete secrecy.
“We are horrified that the German authorities have released this man [Ghadanfar] before the investigating authorities have had a proper opportunity to interview him,” said Dr. Jim Swire, spokesman for the relatives of the Lockerbie victims.
According to the Scotsman:
“just days after the downing of Iran Flight 665, an Iranian intelligence officer flown to Lebanon to meet two officials from the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine – General Command (PFLP-GC), Muhammad Hafiz Dalkamoni and a man known to the CIA as Nabil.”
Chances are pretty good that the man known as Nabil was indeed Ghadanfar. (NB 2015: This is probably wrong. It would appear that the man is Nabil Makhzumi, aka Abou Abid.)
Two day after the bombing of Pan Am 103, communication intercepts indicate that Tehran ordered their Ambassador in Beirut to pay Jibril Organization for the successful operation. The transfer of the money is recorded and Dalkamoni was in possession of the Paris bank account number when he was arrested.
[NB 2015: I have written recently a post about this widely believed story of an Iranian payment. See: Lockerbie & The Legend of The Iranian Payment ]
In the late part of 1988, Jibril called for the establishment of a “formal Palestinian-Iranian alliance” Before the end of the year, such an alliance was formed between the PFLP-GC, the FRC, and Hezbollah. Major terrorist figures, including Ahmed Jibril and Dalkamoni, also a member of Syrian Security, and various prominent members of Hezbollah, frequently visited Iran.
On April 13 1989, the FBI announced that they had tentatively identified how the bomb got on board of Pan Am 103. The report suggested that an agent of the Syrian-sponsored Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, General Command, had planted the bomb in a piece of luggage carried by Khalid Jaafar. The agent was not named but described as a relative of Dalkamoni.
During the Lockerbie trial at Camp Zeist, Abu Talb denied that he knew Dalkamoni. The Lockerbie investigators never found a link between Dalkamoni and Talb. In Cyprus, the PFLP-GC was using a restaurant as a post box. The Syrian owner, Habib al Dajani, told the BKA that, although he was not a member of the organization, he used to relay messages to Dalkamoni. Among the frequent callers, Dajani mentioned Abu Nidal and Abu Talb.