A DC-8 airliner belonging to Alitalia Airlines, hijacked en route from Teheran to Rome on Friday (7 September), returned to Teheran on Saturday, and the hijackers surrendered to Iranian authorities.
A DC-8 airliner belonging to Alitalia Airlines, hijacked en route from Teheran to Rome on Friday (7 September), returned to Teheran on Saturday, and the hijackers surrendered to Iranian authorities. The plane, with one hundred and seventy-two passengers on board, was seized over Cyprus by three Lebanese Shi'ote Moslems, who said they wanted to draw attention to the disappearance of their spiritual leader, Iman Moussa Sadr, who disappeared during a visit to the Libyan Jamahariyah in 1978.
SYNOPSIS: The three Lebanese students at first wanted the plane's pilot to fly them to the Non-Aligned Summit in Cuba. They were dissuaded and instead went to Rome, then on to Teheran.
After negotiations in Rome they agreed to release the plane's passengers in return for being allowed to fly to Teheran. The Iranian Deputy Premier Sadeq Tebataba-i agreed to let them broadcast of state radio; they gave themselves up and were taken into custody.
The Italian captain of the hijacked plane said he argued against the plan to fly to Cuba by telling the youths that the hurricanes in the Caribbean were too dangerous. The hijackers believe that their spiritual leader is being held, or may have been killed, by the Libyan leader Colonel Gaddafi because the minority Shi'ite Moslem community is Southern Lebanon ceased supporting the Palestine Liberation Organisation. But the Libyan authorities say he left for Rome after his visit.