Mahmoud Mohammad Issa Mohammad, a Palestinian terrorist who lived in Canada for 26 years, was deported to Lebanon over the weekend.
A gunman for the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), Mohammad had successfully avoided deportation for decades, despite losing almost all of his legal battles. In 1988, an immigration adjudicator ordered him removed, setting in motion a seemingly never-ending string of appeals and judicial reviews.
His claim for refugee status was rejected because of his involvement with a terrorist organization.
In recent years, Mohammad, 70, argued that health concerns and the dangers he faced if sent to Lebanon should preclude his departure from Canada.
In 1968, Mohammad and a second PFLP gunman attacked an El Al airplane at the Athens airport. Armed with automatic rifles and incendiary grenades, Mohammad raked the airliner with gunfire and hurled grenades. One passenger was killed.
Arrested at the scene, Mohammad was sentenced to 17 years in jail. He was freed after serving two years when Palestinian terrorists hijacked a Greek airliner and threatened to kill the passengers.
Mohammad moved to Canada in 1987. On his application for a visa, he declared he had never been convicted of any offence.
Last weekend, however, his legal battles ended when he was deported to Lebanon on a flight chartered by the Canada Border Services Agency.
Subsequently, Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney stated, “This convicted terrorist was able to use numerous and repetitive appeals and loopholes under Canada’s old, broken immigration system to remain in Canada for 25 years. Fortunately, since 2006, the government has acted to strengthen the integrity of Canada’s immigration system. The introduction of biometrics, reforms to Canada’s asylum system, and the Faster Removal of Foreign Criminals Act, among many other measures, all help to avoid another convicted terrorist like Mr. Mohammad being able to remain in Canada for so long.”
Kenney added: “Canada’s immigration and refugee determination system is one of the most generous in the world. However, its integrity can only be maintained by ensuring that individuals like Mr. Mohammad, whose heinous crimes and misrepresentations mean they are not legally admissible to Canada, are identified and removed,” the minister stated.
Shimon Fogel, CEO of the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA), applauded Mohammad’s deportation. “It is a relief that, although long delayed, justice was ultimately not denied in this case,” he stated.
“This particular file, which stems back to the 1980s, underscores the imperative of the government’s recent efforts to strengthen the efficiency and responsiveness of our immigration and refugee system. For just as it is critical that we provide swift and compassionate support to legitimate refugees, it is likewise essential that we prevent Canada from being used as a safe haven for terrorists.”