Jordan remembers Wasfi Tal

28-11-2012 12:00 AM

Ammon News - AMMONNEWS - Wednesday marks the 41st anniversary of the death of former prime minister Wasfi Tal.

Born in 1920, Tal was appointed prime minister three times in 1962, 1965 and 1970.

One of the most popular officials in Jordan’s history, Tal was allegedly killed by Palestinian gunmen from the Black September unit, named after the clashes between the army and Palestinians in 1970, while attending a meeting of the Arab joint defence council in Cairo.

On 28 November 1971, four Black September gunmen assassinated al-Tal in the lobby of the Sheraton Cairo Hotel in Egypt while he was attending an Arab League summit in the city.

Among other acts, Black September accused al-Tal of personally torturing and executing Abu Ali Iyad, a Fatah field commander whose partisans formed the backbone of the Black September organization.

Historian Patrick Seale claims that one of the assassins, Munshir al-Khalifa, was one of Abu Ali Iyad's soldiers who sought to avenge his commander's death.

As al-Tal lay dying, "one of the assassins knelt and lapped with his tongue the blood flowing across the marble floor." Tal's reported last words were, "They've killed me. Murderers, they believe only in fire and destruction."

Tal was the first victim of the newly formed Black September Organization, a more militant offshoot of the Palestinian militant organization Fatah. His assassins were released on low bail and allowed to leave Egypt. Yasser Arafat, Fatah's leader, claimed responsibility for the killing.

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