Lebanese associate of Carlos the Jackal dies in Damascus hospital

Lebanese militant Anis Naccache in 2010 Anwar AMRO AFP/File
Lebanese militant Anis Naccache in 2010  Anwar AMRO AFP/File

Lebanese militant Anis Naccache, an accomplice of the notorious Carlos the Jackal, died Monday of coronavirus in a Damascus hospital at the age of 70, Syrian state media said.

Naccache took part in the 1975 OPEC conference hostage-taking in Vienna.

Hailing him as a “thinker and freedom fighter”, the official SANA news agency said he was “admitted into intensive care two days ago… because his health deteriorated as a result of Covid-19”.

Authorities will repatriate his remains for burial in Lebanon, said the pro-Damascus Al-Mayadeen television channel.

Naccache was jailed in France for leading an attempted assassination of Iran’s former prime minister Shahpur Bakhtiar in Paris in 1980.

A five-man hit squad led by Naccache killed two people in the attack on Bakhtiar’s home in the western suburb of Neuilly-sur-Seine.

They were all jailed for life, but former president Francois Mitterrand pardoned them in 1990.

Naccache is known as the Lebanese accomplice of Carlos the Jackal, born Ilich Ramirez Sanchez, a Venezuelan who is serving a life sentence in France.

File photo of Ilich Ramirez Sanchez, or “Carlos the Jackal” . Born in Venezuela’s capital Caracas in 1949, he adopted the name of Carlos when he joined the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine in 1973.

Carlos the Jackal shot to the front pages in 1975 when he headed the six-person commando team that held captive 70 representatives of OPEC (the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries), including 11 government ministers, after a shoot-out that left three people dead.

Naccache was the second in command.

In recent years, Naccache, a vocal supporter of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, regularly appeared as a commentator on pro-Iranian media platforms such as Al-Mayadeen and Al-Manar, a Lebanese television channel operated by the Shiite Hezbollah movement.

He also “played until the mid-1990s an important coordination role between the leadership of the Palestinian resistance and that of the Islamic revolution in Iran”, SANA said.