Israel has broken its long-standing policy of refusing to make deals with guerrillas after a government decision on Thursday (1 July) to negotiate the release of hostages from a hijacked Air France Airbus being held at Uganda's Entebbe Airport.
GV INTERIOR Orly Airport, Paris
SV Two middle-aged released hostages out of arrival gate through police and crowds
SVs & MV Other released hostages through arrival gate and greeted by friends and relatives (3 shots)
SV Released hostages leaving airport, surrounded by newsmen
TEL AVIV: GV EXT. Hostages' friends and relatives pushing military police aside in attempt to see government ministers at Cabinet meeting
SV Military police attempting to hold back crowd and policeman fires shot into air from revolver
SV Man closing gate
GV Crowd watched by military police
A Air France Boeing flew into Orly Airport in Paris carrying some of those who were freed. But about 100 more passengers - almost all Israelis or Jewish - were still being held by the Palestinian hijackers who threatened to blow up their captives by 1100 hours GMT on Sunday (4 July) unless their demands were met. The hijackers have called on five governments to free 53 Palestinian prisoners and sympathisers. Among them is Hilarion Capucci, the Greek Catholic Archbishop serving a 12-year sentence in Israel for smuggling arms. Another is Kozo Akomoto, who was given a life sentence for his part in the attack on Lod Airport in 1972 in which 26 people died. The hijackers claim to be members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP).
Israel's decision to negotiate with the hijackers came after about 100 relatives of Israelis still held at Entebbe Airport tired to see Israel's Minister of Transport, Gad Yaacobi.
The announcement by the Israeli government said that six ministers, headed by Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, had been authorised to enter negotiations with what was called "readiness to release detainees". But it was not immediately clear how the team would enter into talks with the hijackers.
The airliner was hijacked over Greece last Sunday (27 June) and after refuelling in Libya it landed at Entebbe Airport on Monday (28 June). The deadline for the prisoners-for-hostages deal was originally mid-day GMT on Thursday (1 July). President Idi Amin of Uganda is reported to have taken a major part in negotiations with the hijackers.
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Background: Israel has broken its long-standing policy of refusing to make deals with guerrillas after a government decision on Thursday (1 July) to negotiate the release of hostages from a hijacked Air France Airbus being held at Uganda's Entebbe Airport. The decision came after 150 hostages were released by the guerrillas.