Abu Nidal Held By Egypt

Abu Nidal, was once the world's most notorious terrorist, reports CBS News National Security Correspondent David Martin. U.S. officials said on Tuesday that Nidal -- who has been accused of gunning down five Americans -- was in custody in Egypt.

It is not clear what Egypt intends to do with him. In fact the government there won't even admit it is holding him. However, the career of the man whose organization mounted terrorists attacks that killed or injured more than 900 people appears to be at an end.

"I think it is fair to say that this man who was really one of the great terrorists of the 70's and 80's is pretty much out of business," said former State Department official Paul Bremer, who spent years pursuing Nidal.

The closest Brememr ever came to getting his man was to pressure Syria's president Assad into expelling him.

"It seems that the expulsion from Syria accomplished what we wanted to accomplish which was to disrupt him, break up his infrastructure, make it harder for him to conduct his attacks," said Bremer.

Nidal spent the past ten years as a guest of Libya's Muamar Gadaffi. Although he continued to operate training camps in Lebanon, he never mounted any more terrorist spectaculars.

Abu Nidal is now in his 60's and in failing health. In fact, he is believed to have crossed into Egypt seeking medical care.

The Egyptian government will now have to decide whether to turn him over to Italy where he is wanted for murder. However, most terrorism experts believe Abu Nidal will die a natural death before he is ever brought to justice.

Reported by David Martin
©1998, CBS Worldwide Inc., All Rights Reserved

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