In an unprecedented hijacking operation, Arab commandos today (Sunday) seized three jetliners -- one a Jumbo Jet -- over Western Europe.
LONDON, UK (SEPEMBER 6, 1970)
LV El Al 707
SV Officials & police leaving aircraft
Background: In an unprecedented hijacking operation, Arab commandos today (Sunday) seized three jetliners -- one a Jumbo Jet -- over Western Europe.
But an attempt to hijack a fourth airliner was thwarted after a mid-air gun battle. Later, passengers described the shooting in which an Arab man was killed and a girl wounded after their aircraft, an Israeli El Al Boeing 707, landed at London Airport.
The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine claimed responsibility for the seizures, adding that the operation was aimed at wrecking the Middle East peace talks.
The commando's biggest coup was the seizure of a Pan American Jumbo Jet with 151 passengers aboard bound for New York. It was seized over the Atlantic and forced to fly to Cairo. Simultaneously, the commandos hijacked a Swissair DC-B with 143 passengers and a Trans World Airlines 707 carrying 145 passengers -- both were forced to land in Jordan.
In the attempt that failed, passengers said that a young Arab gunman and a girl clutching two hand grenades tried to enter the pilot's cabin. A steward and an armed a security man intercepted them. Then the shooting started: As soon as the jet touched down in London, one of the crew rushed across the tarmac to dump a grenade from which the pin had been pulled during the struggle.
El Al steward Schlomo Vider, shot while grappling with the gunman, was rushed to hospital with serious injuries. But doctors later said he was off the danger list. Police said the girl hijacker was only slightly injured and she was still being questioned tonight.