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Ali Hasan Salameh

Personal Info

  • Country of residence: Palestine
  • Gender: Male
  • Born in: 1940
  • Age: 76
  • Curriculum vitae :


Ali Hassan Salameh (1940 – January 22, 1979) was the chief of operations, -code name Abu Hassan- for Black September, the organization responsible for the 1972 Munich massacre and other attacks. He was also the founder of Force 17. He was assassinated by Mossad in January 1979.

Salameh was born in the Palestinian town of Qula during the British mandate, to a wealthy family. He was the son of Shaykh Hassan Salameh, who was killed in action by the Israel Defence Forces during the 1948 Arab–Israeli War, north of Jaffa. He was educated in Germany and is thought to have received his military training in Cairo and Moscow.

He was known for flaunting his wealth, surrounded by women and driving sports cars, and had a very popular appeal among Palestinian young men; his nickname underlined his popularity — the "Red Prince.". After it was alleged that he organized what is known as the Munich Massacre during the 1972 Olympic Games, he was hunted by the Israeli Mossad during Operation Wrath of God. In 1973, Mossad killed an innocent Moroccan waiter, Ahmed Bouchiki, in what became known as the Lillehammer affair in Norway, mistaking Bouchiki for Salameh, and resulting in the arrest of some of the Israeli agents.

As a result of the failure of Lillehammer and his alleged CIA protection, Salameh felt relatively safe, and hence didn't act like a man on the run. Having lived under cover in various parts of the Middle East and Europe, in 1978 he married Georgina Rizk, a Lebanese celebrity who had been Miss Universe seven years earlier in 1971. The couple spent their honeymoon in Hawaii and then stayed at Disneyland, California. When Rizk became pregnant, she returned to her flat in Beirut, Lebanon, where Salameh also rented a separate apartment. By a prior marriage he was a grandson-in-law of Mohammad Amin al-Husayni

According to several sources, Salameh served as a secret contact between the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) from 1970 until his death, guaranteeing not to assassinate US citizens in exchange for financial and political support. However, when asked by the Israelis, the relationship was denied by US officials. He helped protect US citizens in Beirut, and his role was to facilitate contacts between the Palestinians and the US, in hope of obtaining US support for the Palestinians.


Achievements and Awards

Ali Hassan Salameh was featured in the plot of the Steven Spielberg film Munich as one of the assassination targets. He is seen twice but was not assassinated until after the events of the film.

He appears as the character named Jamal Ramlawi in the spy novel Agents of Innocence by David Ignatius, a thinly disguised account of his recruitment by the CIA.

He is briefly mentioned in the Robert Ludlum novel The Janson Directive, where his alleged links to the CIA are cited as an example of shady deals the United States makes.

Daniel Silva borrowed from the exploits of Ali Hassan Salameh and his relatives to create the background for his fictional spy novel Prince of Fire, 2005.

Ali Hassan Salameh is repeatedly referenced in the book By Way of Deception by Victor Ostrovsky in his account of his own recruitment and training to become an officer in Mossad.

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