Natur, Mahmud Ahmad Al- (Abu Tayib; 1945–)

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NATUR, MAHMUD AHMAD AL- (Abu Tayib; 1945–)

Palestinian activist. Mahmud Ahmad al-Natur joined the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) security services in 1970. In 1979 he became assistant to Saʿad Sayel (Abu Walid), the new leader of Force 17 whose former chief, Ali Hassan al-Salama, had been assassinated by the Mossad. Force 17 was mainly responsible for the security of Yasir Arafat and his close associates, as well as for missions connected directly to the PLO leader. It was also in charge of security for PLO representatives abroad. Between 1979 and 1981 Natur was the target of several assassination attempts. At the end of 1982 he became the leader of Force 17 when Sayel was assassinated by a Syrian commando. In 1984 Force 17 took the name Presidential Security Service (Amn al-Riʾasa). During the 1980s it carried out numerous attacks on Israeli interests and Palestinian opponents. On 25 September 1985 a Force 17 commando assassinated three Mossad agents at Larnaka, Cyprus, one of whom was Sylvia Raphael, who was considered responsible for Salama's death. In August 1987 Natur reorganized the security service, in which a number of Arafat's opponents had assumed leadership positions. Between 1988 and 1992, in coordination with the Western Sector of al-Fatah, he organized a number of terrorist operations in the Occupied Territories.

During the spring of 1992, when he was hoping to head the al-Fatah security services following the assassination, a year earlier, of Salah Khalaf (Abu Iyad), Arafat shunted him aside. Between 1993 and 1994 he was stripped of his command in response to demands of the Israeli authorities, who refused to negotiate with Palestinians who had been involved in terrorist acts. At the beginning of 1995 al-Natur went to the Palestinian autonomous territories, unofficially taking control of the Presidential Security Service, which was officially headed by Faysal Abu Sharʿa.

SEE ALSO Arafat, Yasir;Fatah, al-;Force 17;Khalaf, Salah;Mossad.