Pro-Palestinian guerrillas holding senior oil ministers hostage left Vienna with their captives aboard an Austrian airliner, bound for Algiers, on Monday (22 December).
Pro-Palestinian guerrillas holding senior oil ministers hostage left Vienna with their captives aboard an Austrian airliner, bound for Algiers, on Monday (22 December). Their departure marked the end of a one-day siege at the headquarters of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) in Vienna.
Police said 33 hostages were aboard the DC-9, together with six guerrillas, one of them carried aboard on a stretcher with a gunshot wound in his stomach.
Ten senior ministers responsible for oil industries in OPEC countries were also believed to be aboard the aircraft, which left at 9.16 a.m. local time (0816 GMT).
The hostages were driven away from the Vienna headquarters of the association by bus. As they left, the police announced they had found a third body. The dead man was identified as Yousef Izmirili, a member of Libya's delegation to OPEC.
An Austrian detective and an Iraqi security guard were killed in the first minutes of the attack on Sunday (21 December), as the guerrillas stormed the building in a hail of machine gun fire.
By agreement with the Austrian Chancellor, Bruno Kreisky, the guerrillas released all Austrian employees of OPEC -- between ten and twelve people -- before leaving the building.
The nationality of the gunmen was unknown when the plane took off, but Chancellor Kreisky had cast doubt on a theory that the raid was led by an international terrorist known as Carlos Martinez.
A statement from the gunmen found in Geneva said they "wanted to confront a conspiracy aimed at obtaining recognition for the legality of Zionist presence in our territory". The Palestine Liberation Organisation has denounced the attack.