President Anwar Sadat on Wednesday (22 February) led mourners at the military funeral for 15 Egyptian commandos who were killed in Sunday's (19 February) raid on a commandeered aircraft at Larnaca airport in Cyprus.
GV: Night scene Cairo airport.
SV PAN: Premier Mamdouh Salem arrives surrounded by crowd.
GV PAN: General Gamassi arrives.
GV: Plane taxiing.
GV: Premier Salem and General Gamassi walk across tarmac.
GV: Troops off plane and line up. (2 SHOTS)
SV: Crowds around commandos.
SV: Salem shaking hands with commandos.
SV: General Gamassi speaking to commandos.
John Bierman, a British foreign correspondent based in Cyprus, was charged in Nicosia on Wednesday (22 February) with publishing a false report relating to the Larnaca airport battle. The charge arises out of a dispatch he sent to Reuters immediately after the battle. Mr. Bierman said he wrote his report in good faith and based it on facts. There were a number of witnesses willing to substantiate his description, he said.
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Background: President Anwar Sadat on Wednesday (22 February) led mourners at the military funeral for 15 Egyptian commandos who were killed in Sunday's (19 February) raid on a commandeered aircraft at Larnaca airport in Cyprus. Thousands of people attended the funeral at the military parade ground at Nasr City on the outskirts of the capital, Cairo. Two gunmen have been charged with the murder in Cyprus of Mr. Youssef Sibia, editor-in-chief of the Cairo newspaper Al Ahram and a close friend of Mr. Sadat. The gunmen had commandeered the plane which the Egyptian commandos stormed in an attempt to free hostages on board.
SYNOPSIS: A heroes' welcome awaited at Cairo airport for the return home of the surviving commandos. Egyptian Prime minister Mamdouh Salem and his entire cabinet were present at the airport to greet them.
The Minister of War, General Muhammad Gamassi, was also there.
While the Palestinians are regarded as the main culprits for Mr. Sibai's killing, Cyprus, Russia, Syria and Libya have all been accused of collusion with the terrorists.
The commandos - who are among Egypt's crack troops - were told by the War Minister that they had fought an honourable battle for their country's honour and pride. They were promised that they would be personally thanked by President Sadat.
The troops had brought home with them the bodies of their 15 comrades killed at Larnaca. President SADAT HAS AWARDED THE Star of Sinai to the dead, and badges of honour for all who took part in the operation. It was announced on Wednesday (22 February) that Egypt had broken off diplomatic relations with Cyprus, Mr. Sadat saying he refused to recognise Mr. Kyprianou as President.