In Cyprus a prominent Egyptian journalist was not dead by two gunmen on Saturday (18 February).
In Cyprus a prominent Egyptian journalist was not dead by two gunmen on Saturday (18 February). Youssef Sibai, chairman and editor-in-chief of the Cairo newspaper Al-Ahram, was killed by a single pistol shot in Nocosia's Hilton Hotel. After taking 15 hostages the gunmen were driven to Larnaca Airport and flown out of the country.
SYNOPSIS: Mr. Sibai was shot as he walked into a meeting of the Afro-Asian Peoples Solidarity Organisation at the hotel. Police sources said the gunmen were Eritreans who had been refused entry to the conference, but a statement issued by the Eritrean Liberation Front Revolutionary Forces said they were not responsible. An eyewitness said the two men claimed to be Palestinians and spoke in Arabic and broken English. They told all the delegates in he conference room to raise their hands and then separated Arabs from the others.
Mr. Sibai, a former Minister of Information and Culture in the Egyptian government, had been Secretary General of the Cairo-based organisation since it was formed 20 years ago.
The hostages all had their hands tied behind their backs when they left the hotel for the 30-kilometre drive to Larnaca Airport. They were accompanied on the bus trip by Cyprus Interior and Defence Minister Christodoulos Veniamin, Socialist leader Dr. Luss Kyssarides and the military attache of the Syrian Embassy in Nicosia. The gunmen said they would release their hostages in return for safe passage.
At the airport a plane was waiting to fly the two men off the island. Cyprus Airways at first agreed to provide an aircraft on condition the men surrender their weapons but the gunmen refused to hand over their arms before leaving.
Later a Cairo newspaper accused the Palestinian Black September group of carrying out the murder. It said a decision had been taken by the group to assassinate all Egyptian writers and journalists who went to Jerusalem with President Anwar Sadat. The Palestinian Liberation Organisation denounced the killing.