[Ahmed Jibril has died in Damascus at the age of 83. What follows is the report published today on the Middle East Monitor website:]
Ahmed Jibril, leader of Palestinian Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command passed away in the Syrian capital Damascus yesterday at the age of 83.
Jibril and his family were forced out of Yazour neighbourhood in the outskirts of the Palestinian city of Yafa in 1948.
In 1965, he established the Palestinian Popular Front, which was later merged with other leftist Palestinian factions and became the Palestinian Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP).
In 1969 he defected and formed the PFLP-General Command, which ten years later agreed to a prisoner swap with Israel
In 1979, the PFLP-General Command held a prisoner swap with Israel. Some 76 Palestinian detainees were released in exchange for one m Israeli soldier.
Jibril negotiated a prisoner swap between the PLO factions and Israel in 1985 when 1,150 Palestinian prisoners were released in return for three Israeli soldiers.
In 2002, Israel assassinated his eldest son Jihad in Lebanon.
Jibril was criticised for his support for the Assad regime in Syria, which didn't waiver in spite of the current war.
[None of the reports of Jibril's death that I have seen so far have mentioned his and the PFLP-GC's alleged responsibility for the bombing of Pan Am 103 over Lockerbie. What follows is a report by Richard Norton-Taylor and Ian Black in The Guardian on 4 May 2000:]
The finger of suspicion after the Lockerbie bombing was first pointed at Ahmed Jibril's Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine - General Command, the very group implicated yesterday, more than 11 years later, by the two Libyan defendants.
In another extraordinary twist, they also implicated Abu Talb, once regarded by the Scottish police as a prime suspect but now a prosecution witness.
For years, western intelligence agencies believed in a simple explanation. The bombing was funded by Iran in retaliation for the mistaken shooting down of an Iranian airliner by an American warship, the USS Vincennes, over the Persian Gulf in July 1988, five months before the Lockerbie bombing.
It was assumed that the Iranians paid Jibril's Syria-backed group to carry out a revenge attack. The assumption appeared to be backed up by the arrest a few months before the bombing of 17 people in Frankfurt, where the bag containing the bomb is alleged to have been placed on the Pan Am airliner. It was reported later that those arrested in the operation, called Autumn Leaves, included Hafez Dalkamoni, a prominent member of the PFLP-GC with links to Palestinians in Uppsala, Sweden.
They also included Marwan Kreeshat, a Jordanian, found with explosives and a Toshiba cassette player in his car similar to the one believed to have contained the bomb that destroyed the Pan Am airliner. British intelligence was later astonished to learn that he had been released for lack of evidence.
Iran appeared to be further implicated in the bombing when a US intelligence report referred to Ali Akbar Mohtashemi, a former Iranian interior minister who supervised Iranian funding of Middle East terror groups, paying out "10 million in dollars in cash and gold ... to bomb Pan Am flight 103 ... in retaliation for the US shoot-down of the Iranian Airbus".
The existence of the report, which was given to lawyers representing Pan Am, became known in 1995. This was after the two Libyans were indicted and officials in Washington and London played down its significance, describing it as low-grade information found to be incorrect.
The trail to Talb began when he was linked to a car belonging to to one of those arrested in Frankfurt. Talb was found guilty at Uppsala in December 1989 of planting a bomb at a synagogue in Copenhagen four years earlier.
Swedish police were reported to have found at Talb's Uppsala apartment an air ticket from Malta to Stockholm indicating that he was on the island at the time children's clothes - part of the evidence against the two Libyans - were bought.
British Lockerbie investigators were also alleged to have found clothes bought in Malta during a later raid on Talb's flat. Also found there was a diary with December 21 1988 - the date of the bombing - circled. He was named in the Uppsala court as being suspected in Scotland of murder or as an accessory to murder.
Yesterday, Egyptian-born Talb was described in the Camp Zeist court as a member of the Palestine Popular Struggle Front and witness number 963 for the Scottish prosecution. The PPSF was founded in 1969 with backing from Syria, and split in 1981. One of its two founders, Samir Ghosheh, left in 1981 to join the mainstream PLO and is now a minister in Yasser Arafat's Palestine Authority in Gaza.
Experts said last night that the PPSF was defunct and that little had been heard of it for at least two years.
According to Israel's Jaffee Centre for Strategic Studies, the PFLP-GC, which rejects a political settlement with Israel, has maintained links with Syria, Libya and Iran, serving as a proxy for those states in attacks in the international arena. It was suspected of carrying out the bombing of a French airliner in 1989 over Niger.
Ahmed Jibril declined to comment last night.
Some commentators say that attention over Lockerbie turned to Libya when the west wanted to improve relations with Iran and Syria after the Gulf war against Iraq. Washington and London dismiss this as conspiracy theory.