BEIRUT, LEBANON (9:00 A.M.) – The commander-in-chief of the Palestine Liberation Army, Major General Tariq Al-Khadra, passed away at the age of 80 in Damascus.
According to sources in Damascus, General Khadra passed away at the Tishreen Hospital in the capital city, Damascus, on Wednesday evening.
Mohammad Tariq bin ‘Abdel-Rahman Al-Khadra was born to a Palestinian family in the city of Safed (British Mandate of Palestine) in 1941.
The late general spend much of his childhood living in the coastal cities of Gaza and Haifa before the 1948 War displaced his family and forced them to travel by foot to nearby Bint Jbeil in Lebanon and eventually Homs city in Syria.
The leader of the Palestine Liberation Army spent the remainder of his childhood in Homs until 1958, before continuing his secondary education at Jawdat Al-Hashemi School in Damascus in 1960. In the same year, he volunteered in the Syrian Arab Army wing of the United Arab Republic and joined the Military Technical College In Cairo.
He graduated from the Military College in Homs in 1962 with the rank of lieutenant.
After the founding of the Palestine Liberation Organization, he joined the Palestine Liberation Army in mid-1966 with the rank of first lieutenant and was appointed to the General Command of the Palestine Liberation Army based in Cairo.
Two months before the June 1967 war, General Khadra joined the PLA’s fighting units in the Gaza Strip and fought the war in defense of the sector as its leader. After the setback, he joined the Palestine Liberation Army units stationed at the Suez Canal front near Fayed and for ten months remained Chief of Staff of the Al-Saiqa (Thunderbolt) Battalion within the forces of ‘Ayn Jalout.
In mid-1968, he returned to the Palestine Liberation Army in the Syrian Arab Republic and took over the duties of commanding a battalion in the forces of Hattin with the rank of captain.
He commanded his unit stationed in the southern sector of the Syrian front (at Wadi Raqqad) from late 1968 until the first part of 1970, during which he fought and supported many successful commando operations against the Israeli forces.
He moved with his unit to the Arqoub area in southern Lebanon in 1970 to protect the Palestinian forces that were forming there, and then moved from southern Lebanon and entered his unit with the rest of the Hittin forces to the Irbid area in Jordan during the events of (Black September).
At the end of 1970, he formed the Reconnaissance and Military Security Division of the Palestine Liberation Army, and in 1971 he assumed the duties of commanding the Hittin Forces, with the rank of captain, in addition to being the head of the reconnaissance division.
In 1972, Khadra completed a one-year military course in the Soviet Union.
The commander of the Palestine Liberation Army led his forces during the 1973 October War, which carried out a successful landing operation behind enemy lines in the area (Tal Al-Fares).
General Khadra assumed the duties of the Liaison Forces Command in northern Lebanon from late 1975 until the second half of 1976, with the rank of lieutenant colonel.
In 1980, he was promoted to commander-in-chief of the Palestine Liberation Army and then promoted to the rank of major general in 1999.
The late general is a member of the Arab Writers Union and a member of the Palestinian Journalists Union, and he published many political articles, intellectual studies and poems in both the Syrian and Palestinian media.