Palestinian Lion Cubs

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Ashbal (sing. shibl) 'Lion Cubs' child soldiers in Lebanon began in spring 1969, were led by Palestinian-Arab leaders like Yasser Arafat, and at the founding also by Ahmad Shukairy and George Habash of PFLP, initially dubbed 'baby tigers.'
'Baby Tigers' - as first referred to in 1969, in US

They were active in the 1970s and 1980s.[1]

Lion Cubs in Lebanon. (ThisWorld Magazine, Dec.24.1969)

In early years. There were 'Lion Cubs' in Jordan too. [2]

In action however, Habash refused to join Arafat[3] and acted separately at his smaller PFLP terror organization. In 1969, three "Lion Cubs" terrorists aged fourteen and fifteen years old joined adults and attacked Five El Al offices in Europe. [3][4]

The Lion Cubs was in essence, the "youth movement" of Arafat's Fatah.[5] [6]

Some were as young as eight years of age, first.[7]

The boys were taught fighting techniques,[8] to dismantle, clean and reassemble rifles, pistols and machine guns and are allowed to fire live ammunition. The children underwent a Mau Mau-like hardening course in which each boy was required to tear apart a live chicken to develop a "lust for killing."[9][10][11]

Then there were reports for even younger kids, as young as 5.[12]

Chants which these children, had to learn and repeat included: "Oh Zionists, do you think you are safe? Drinking blood is the habit of our men" and "We are from Fatah! We have come to kill you a all!"[13][14]

See also


  1. Henry J Taylor, "Arab Commando Attacks". Lewiston Evening Journal, Apr 28, 1969, p. 3; Daily Press from Newport News, Virginia, April 28, 1969, p.11.
    Baby Tigers - The State Department finds that such leaders as Arafat, Shukairy and Habeche talk of "fighting for 20 or so years." They even have training camps for 12-year-old youths, a expanding cadre called Baby Tigers.
  2. Geyer, G. A. (1972). The New 100 Years War. United States: Doubleday. p.68
  3. 3.0 3.1 Simon Reeve (2011). One Day in September: The Full Story of the 1972 Munich Olympics Massacre and the Israeli Revenge Operation "Wrath of God." ...the PFLP attacks continued. Leila Khaled... led a PFLP team that hiijacked a TWA jet to Damascus on August 29, 1969. Five El Al offices were attacked in Europe and the Middle East by a group of terrorists, including "Lion Cubs": three terrorists aged fourteen and fifteen years old.
  4. John K. Cooley (2015). "Green March, Black September (RLE Israel and Palestine): The Story of the Palestinian Arabs." Routledge. p. 149. –On September 8, 1969, three adult Palestinians accompanied by three boys of 14 and 15 years old, called “Lion Cubs' and attached to the PFLP, threw grenades at the Israeli embassies in the Hague, Bonn and the El Al office in Brussels.
  5. Jillian Becker (2014), The PLO. p. 187
  6. Baracskay, D., Baracskay, D. (2011). The Palestine Liberation Organization: Terrorism and Prospects for Peace in the Holy Land. United States: ABC-CLIO. p.121.
  7. Newsweek - Volume 74, Issues 18-26 - Page 42 - 1969. When Al Fatah opened training camps for 8- to 15-year-old "Lion Cubs" last spring, the response was immediate. Now, on playgrounds of Palestinian refugee camps, Yasir Arafat's young lions— many of them dressed in cut-down combat...
  8. Arafat Rejects Pullout, Marvine Howe, The New York Times, Nov. 7, 1977, p. 2.
    Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat declared today that the joint Palestinian‐Lebanese leftist forces would not pull out of southern Lebanon, because to do so would mean surrender to Israel.

    Mr. Arafat, who is overall commander of the Palestine Liberation Organization, took his firm stand in an address at graduation exercises for 75 new Lebanese and Palestinian guerrilla leaders on the outskirts of this southern Lebanese port city. The ceremony was held outside Ain el‐Hilweh, the largest refugee camp in Lebanon, at a training field where young Palestinians called lion cubs learn fighting techniques.

    The graduation rally, which included martial music and pledges to continue the struggle “until victory”..
  9. John Laffin, "Fedayeen; the Arab-Israeli Dilemma." Free Press, 1973. pp. 96-97
  10. Arms Control and Disarmament: A Quarterly Bibliography with Abstracts and Annotations, Volume 6. Library of Congress. Arms Control and Disarmament Bibliography. 1969, p. 420 Arab youths have proved eager to join up for tough Mau Mau - like military training; one unit, the Lion Cubs, for boys ten to fourteen, instills a blood lust by making recruits tear live chickens apart.
  11. Isaiah L. Kenen, "Near East Report," Volume 19. Near East Report, Incorporated, 1975. p. 37. Few can be taken in by PLO's "democratic, secular state"... .. the Ashbal (the Lion Cubs)... to tear apart a live chicken to develop a lust for killing "-- accompanied by hymns of hate against Israel. As demonstrated by the shocking acts of savagery with which the world has become so familiar, this training has proven all-too successful.
  12. Harris O. Schoenberg (1989). "A Mandate for Terror: The United Nations and the PLO." p. 410 Oh Zionists, do you think you are safe? Drinking blood is a habit of our men!" chant the Ashbal (Lion Cubs), boys five years.
  13. Keith Campbell: "Children of the Storm: The Abuse of Children for the Promotion of the Revolution." Lone Tree Publications, 1987. p. 6
  14. Helene Roux (1988). "How Revolutionaries Use Children." p. 9


    Given the record of successes enjoyed by the totalitarian governments in indoctrinating youngsters into becoming murderous thugs for political ends, it is little wonder that many revolutionary and terrorist movements have followed suit.

    Thus it is that Fatah (Arafat's faction of the PLO) has a youth wing the Ashbal ("Lion Cubs") for boys of 6 and older, which produces "junior terrorists". Chants which these children have to learn and repeat include: "Oh Zionists , do you think you are safe ? Drinking blood is the habit of our men" and: "We are from Fatah! We have come to kill you all!" At the age of 12, the children receive two or three weeks of military training and each is issued with a weapon. As part of their training...

"The Mufti.. concocted a new kind of antisemitism that combined traditional Muslim antisemitism, like the anti-Jewish verses you find in the Koran, with the Nazi antisemitism that demonised Jews... His whole ideology was antisemitic and from the very beginning he targeted Jews, not Zionists."
The difference between lies and reality is sometimes just a color on a map

W. Ormsby-Gore as he was preparing the royal commission report, "Though I knew there was ill-feeling between Jews and Arabs, I had not realized the depth and intensity of the hatred with which the Jews are held by the Arabs..."
"It is not Israel's settlement blocks but rather the Palestinian ideological blockade that constitutes the biggest barrier to peaceful arrangements . The Jew-hatred in this region must no longer be played down as a kind of local custom ..."
The only tweet (July 2014) on the Twitter account of the late American Elan Ganeles - murdered by Arab-Islamist "Palestinian" on Feb 27, 2023 hy"d: "I think you're always going to have tension in the Middle East, when there's [are] people who want to kill Jews, and the Jews don't want to be killed, and neither side is willing to compromise."