Having spent most of his adult life fighting in the security forces for the Palestinian cause, it is remarkable that Amin al Hindi lived to be 70 and died, in Amman, of natural causes. Born in Gaza in 1940 he spent many years in exile. He was suspected of being involved in the planning of the Black September kidnapping of Israeli athletes during the 1972 Olympics in Munich, but he never acknowledged any involvement. His death comes six weeks after that of Mohammed Daoud Oudeh - known as Abu Daoud - the self-confessed architect of the plot which ended, contrary to his plans, in the death of five of the gang, one German policeman and 11 members of the Israeli team.
Al Hindi disappeared for two decades after Munich, which seemed to suggest his involvement. Yet his survival, when most others suspected of involvement were subsequently killed, and his frequent contact with Israeli security officials after the Oslo Peace Accords of 1993 indicate otherwise. A close associate of Yasser Arafat, al Hindi played a key role in Fatah, the Palestinian national liberation movement. Following the Accords, he returned to the Palestine Territories and became commander of the Palestine General Security and Intelligence Service, with the rank of major-general.
In September 2001, one of his aides was killed by a car bomb, which was seen as a warning to al Hindi. In mid-2004, as factional struggles for succession to Arafat emerged, a spate of kidnappings and killings broke out in the Gaza Strip and West Bank. General outrage and calls for reform mounted in Gaza and, in July 2004, Al Hindi resigned. However, Arafat refused to accept the resignation and al Hindi remained in his post.
Some weeks later, on August 25, 2004, Tariq Abu Rajab, al Hindi's deputy chief, was shot and seriously wounded and two of his bodyguards killed. Rajab survived and, in April 2005, was appointed by Arafat's successor, Mahmoud Abbas, to replace al Hindi. Al Hindi's funeral, with military honours, was attended by President Abbas and other Palestinian leaders in Ramallah. Amin al Hindi was born in 1940 and died on August 17.
* The National