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Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine–General Command (PFLP-GC)



PFLP-GC flag
Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine flag

The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine–General Command (PFLP-GC) is a Syria-based terrorist group that former Syrian Army officer Ahmad Jibril established when he split from the PFLP in 1968. Like the PFLP, it combines Arab nationalism with Marxist-Leninist ideology and is focused on destroying Israel and removing Western influence from the Middle East—ultimately establishing a Marxist Palestinian state. Jibril claimed that his new group would focus more on fighting and less on politics.

During the 1970s and 1980s, PFLP-GC carried out dozens of attacks in Europe and the Middle East, primarily against perceived Israeli interests. The group shifted its focus in the early 1990s to conducting small-scale attacks in Israel, the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip. The PFLP-GC has not claimed responsibility for any attacks since 2015 but fought alongside Syrian regime forces during the Syrian civil war until at least 2020 and has expressed support for Iran and Lebanese Hizballah.

Headquartered in Damascus, Syria; also maintains a presence in Lebanon, the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip

Probably has several hundred members

In the 1970s and 1980s, the PFLP-GC used innovative attack methods, including barometric bombs to destroy civilian aircraft; mail bombs; and other more unusual means for conducting attacks—such as hot-air balloons and motorized hang-gliders—against what it perceived to be Israeli interests. However, since the early 1990s, the group has used guerrilla tactics, including grenades; IEDs; rockets; small arms and light machine guns; and suicide vests in attacks against Israeli military and civilian targets. From possibly 2011 until at least 2020, the group also targeted forces battling the Syrian regime.

The US State Department designated PFLP-GC as a foreign terrorist organization on 8 October 1997. The State Department designated the group as a terrorist organization under Executive Order 13224 (for the purpose of levying financial sanctions against it) on 31 October 2001.


Ahmad Jibril

Ahmad Jibril  [DECEASED]
Leader 1968-2021

Talal Naji

Talal Naji
Leader 2021 to Present


20 December 2015

PFLP-GC fires three rockets from Lebanon into northern Israel, causing no casualties.

25 November 1987

Two PFLP-GC members kill six Israeli soldiers in northern Israel after flying in separate hang-gliders from southern Lebanon.

11 April 1974

Three PFLP-GC members attack Qiryat Shemona, Israel, killing 10 adults and eight children.

22 May 1970

PFLP-GC attacks a school bus near Moshav Avivim, Israel, killing 12 civilians—including nine children—and wounding 25.

21 February 1970

PFLP-GC plants a barometric bomb in a Swiss airliner, which explodes after takeoff, killing 47 passengers and crewmembers.