The State Department confirmed Tuesday that it had sent an indirect message to the Palestine Liberation Organization, warning it against any terrorist attacks against American citizens or facilities. PLO leader Yasser Arafat in Baghdad accused the United States of threatening his organization.
State Department spokesman Charles Redman denied in Washington there was any threat in the message, which the U.S. government sent to several Middle Eastern governments.Although the message was not directly addressed to the PLO, Redman said, "We certainly hope the message will get through to the PLO."
Redman said the U.S. note was a prudent measure, taken in response to reports of a possible terrorist attack. Two weeks ago, a similar warning was sent out about possible attacks by Iranian-backed terrorists.
The Palestine Liberation Organization chairman told reporters in Baghdad he received the U.S. memorandum through an Arab country.
"It has come to our attention that the PLO leader Arafat may have personally approved a series of terrorist attacks against American citizens and facilities abroad, possibly in retaliation for last month's assassination of Abu Jihad (Arafat's military commander)," the memorandum said.