Famous Palestinian liberation fighter Leila Khaled has been prevented by Italy's border police from entering the country to attend series of political events and conferences, according to Italian media reports.
Khaled's visa was canceled upon arrival and she was ordered to board the next plane to Amman. Italian authorities claim her Shengen visa allowing entry to the European Union is "not valid," although Khaled has previously entered other EU countries, including Germany, Spain, Denmark, Austria and Greece.
The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), the liberation group of which Khaled is a member, says the "action followed a racist campaign waged by the Zionist movement and the forces of the fascist right-wing in Europe over the past months against the Popular Front and the Palestinian and Lebanese Resistance."
Prior to the planned arrival of Khaled, now aged 73, a prominent pro-Zionist Italian columnist had written: "Why should we welcome... a terrorist who is still proud for what she did?"
The PFLP has condemned the action as a "blatantly political decision in favor of the occupation state and racist Zionism," and vowed to press the issue through media and legal channels.
Leila Khaled is a renowned Palestinian fighter and activist who came to prominence for her role in the hijacking of a flight from Rome, diverting it to Damascus, after which a photo of her wearing a Kaffiyeh and holding an AK-47 circulated through world media.
She has remained active in the PFLP in recent decades, publishing an autobiography and traveling around the world to speak at Palestinian solidarity events.