In Cyprus 11 hostages and four crew members were released on Sunday (19 February) when Egyptian commandos stormed the aircraft in which they'd been held.
In Cyprus 11 hostages and four crew members were released on Sunday (19 February) when Egyptian commandos stormed the aircraft in which they'd been held. Two gunmen who'd taken the hostages after killing Egyptian journalist Youssef Sibai on Saturday surrendered to Cypriot National Guardsmen. The two-day ordeal began when the hostages flew out of Larnaca Airport aboard a Cyprus Airways plane and landed in the African state of Djibouti. They returned to Cyprus only after a number of other countries including Aden and the Libyan Jamahiriyah had said they would not allow the gunmen in. An international row blew up when 100 Egyptian commandos flew into Laranca to release the hostages but became embroiled in a pitched battle with Cypriot Guardsmen.
At least five Egyptians were thought to have died. Cyprus said the Egyptians had acted unilaterally but in Cairo a government official said Prime Minister Mamdouh Salem had informed the Cypriots that the commandos were on their way. On Saturday Cypriot Socialist Party leader Dr. Vassos Lyssarides, who'd volunteered to be a hostage, was released before the gunmen left. And President Spyros Kyprianou paid tribute to assassination victim Youssef Sibai.
SYNOPSIS: In Cairo Mr. Sibai, a close friend of President Anwar Sadat, was given a military funeral on Sunday. Sixty-year-old Mr. Sibai had been a government minister, senior army officer, distinguished journalist and novelist.
He was shot in the chest when he was in Cyprus in his capacity as Secretary-General of the Cairo-based Afro-Asian People's Solidarity Organisation. At the time of his death Mr. Sibai was chairman and editor-in-chief of the semi-official daily newspaper Al-Ahram. He was in addition chairman of the Egyptian Press Syndicate and Secretary-General of the Egyptian Writers' Association.
Last July Cairo police said they had foiled a plot to kidnap Mr. Sibai by a Moslem extremist group. His killing was widely condemned by Arab groups including the Palestinian Liberation Organisation. One Egyptian newspaper blamed the shooting on the Palestinian Black September movement.