When an Iraqi airliner landed at Beirut Airport yesterday (5 October) with more than 40 Arab commandos on board the Lebanese authorities refused to allow the guerrillas to leave.
When an Iraqi airliner landed at Beirut Airport yesterday (5 October) with more than 40 Arab commandos on board the Lebanese authorities refused to allow the guerrillas to leave. They were still on board when it returned to Baghdad 17 hours later.
The Viscount airliner arrived unexpectedly from Baghdad soon after midnight. It was surrounded by Lebanese troops while the commandos, said to have at least six guns and five hand-grenades with them, stayed on board.
Arab envoys and representatives of the Palestinian Armed Struggle Command boarded the airliner to try to persuade the commandos-members of the Iraqi-backed Arab Liberation Front-to fly back on the same aircraft. The guerrillas retaliated by holding an airport officers as hostage. The Lebanese authorities promptly countered by detaining the captain and two members of his crew who had temporarily left the airliner.
All were later released and the airliner took off again, leaving behind a 43rd guerrillas who run away just before it took off. Arrangements were made for him to be flown out to the next available aircraft.
Abu Wa'el, a members of the Palestinian Armed Struggle Command who was at the airport, said the guerrillas's behaviour had shamed the commando movement.