Abu Musa, 86; Palestinian fighter abandoned Arafat

DAMASCUS — A hard-line Palestinian military commander who rebelled against leader Yasser Arafat to form his own rival party died in Damascus on Tuesday. Said Musa Maragha, better known by his nom de guerre, Abu Musa, was 86.

Mr. Maragha died of cancer.

A Jordanian of Palestinian descent, he defected from the Jordanian Army in 1970.

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Palestinian fighters were pushed out of Jordan in 1971 in battles with Jordanian forces that killed thousands, mostly Palestinians, later known as Black September.

Many fighters, including Mr. Maragha, fled to Lebanon. There he joined the Fatah movement, headed by Arafat.

Mr. Maragha quickly rose through the ranks.

He rebelled against Arafat in 1982 after Israel invaded Lebanon and bombed Beirut, pushing out Palestinian fighters.

A year later, he established a rival group, Fatah Uprising.