Macina Liberation Front flag
The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) is a terrorist group based in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. It combines Arab nationalism with Marxist-Leninist ideology, viewing the destruction of Israel as integral to the struggle to remove Western capitalism from the Middle East and ultimately establish a Communist Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital. The group was founded after the Six Day War in 1967, and it became the second largest faction and the main opposition force to Fatah in the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) in 1968.
The PFLP fostered links and carried out attacks with leftist militant groups across the world during the 1970s and was actively involved in the Second Intifada from 2000 to 2005, during which the group carried out suicide operations and launched multiple joint operations with other Palestinian terrorist groups. The PFLP’s operational tempo has since declined, with only two attacks in the last five years, most recently in 2019 that killed an Israeli teen and injured multiple others.
As of July 2022, the PFLP, along with HAMAS and Palestinian Islamic Jihad, were taking steps to create a National Liberation Front in an attempt to address “internal divisions” and to cooperate with and to rebuild the PLO.
Largely based in the Gaza Strip; also operates and has members in Israel, Lebanon, Syria, and the West Bank
TACTICS AND TARGETS
The PFLP targets Israeli government, military, and security personnel, as well as Israeli civilians. In its early years, the PFLP favored large-scale and high-visibility terror attacks like hijacking civilian airliners. Since the late 1970s, the group has focused more on firing rockets and mortars from the Gaza Strip at communities in southern Israel and conducting bombing, explosives, and shooting attacks. Fighters are equipped with small arms, light machineguns, artillery rockets, mortars, man-portable surface-to-air missiles, improvised weapons, and explosives, including improvised explosive devices and suicide vests.
FOREIGN TERRORIST GROUP DESIGNATION
The US State Department designated the PFLP as a foreign terrorist organization on 8 October 1997. The State Department designated the group a
terrorist organization under Executive Order 13224 for the purpose of financial sanctions against it on 31 October 2001.