Western Intelligence Loses a High-Value Palestinian Asset

Among the 67 victims who died in the triple hotel bombing in Amman on Wednesday, Nov. 9, was a shadowy Palestinian figure called Abed A-Lon.

Although his official title was director-general of the Palestinian interior ministry, DEBKA-Net-Weekly reveals his undercover function as facilitator between Palestinian intelligence and two Western agencies, the American CIA and the British Secret Service MI6. A resident of East Jerusalem, he was 34 when he died in the blast at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in the Jordanian capital.

In his short life, he managed to chalk up an impressive record as a high-flying intelligence operative.

Our intelligence sources report that Abed A-Lon’s career began in the early 1990s as assistant to Jibril Rajoub, then commander of the Preventive Security Service for the West Bank, a body established under the Oslo Interim Peace Accords.

It was not long before he became Rajoub’s main liaison officer with the US agencies and Egyptian military intelligence. During 2002 and 2003, when Rajoub spent months in London for cancer treatment, A-Lon developed a good relationship with MI6. Later in 2003, when the current Palestinian civil affairs minister Mohammed Dahlan of Gaza was appointed minister of interior, A-Lon switched from Rajoub and joined Dahlan’s team.

In 2004, Dahlan fell out with Yasser Arafat in the last months of his life. A-Lon moved on again and took up with General Bashir Naf’a, then commander of Palestinian special forces, later to be promoted chief of Palestinian military intelligence on the West Bank.

Naf’a and A-Lon died together in the Grand Hyatt in Amman, one of the three hotels blown by al Qaeda in Iraq.

The two cloak-and-dagger artists got together in Amman although their ways had recently parted.

A-Lon had begun working with Mohammed Rashid, the rather shady tycoon who was once the secret manager of Arafat’s finances.

The late A-Lon’s Palestinian loyalties may have been as stable as quicksilver, but he kept faith with the Americans and the British and served them well.

He was extremely useful in the British project to set up three MI6 operations centers in the Gaza Strip as the nucleus of the Western security set-up devised for the territory after Israel’s withdrawal. A-Lon also assisted the CIA as a consultant on security for the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

Most recently, the Palestinian agent acted as covert right hand to General William Ward, the US military coordinator between the Bush administration and the Palestinian Authority. He won American trust as a high-value asset to the point that they pressed him to take up the appointment of chef de bureau for Palestinian Authority Chairman, Mahmoud Abbas.

A-Lon declined. He had always worked under cover and preferred to stay in the shadows.

So crucial were the functions he performed as all-round intelligence and security adviser, facilitator and go-between that US and Jordanian intelligence have begun to wonder if Zarqawi may have learned from his Iraqi spies or businessmen where the Palestinian was staying and deliberately sent a suicide bomber to hit him and General Naf’a.

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