Beirut Hijack Ordeal Now Second Longest
The TWA hijacking in Beirut became the second longest in the history of air piracy when it entered its 14th day Thursday.
The longest hijacking, which lasted 40 days, began on July 23, 1968, when three members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine hijacked an El Al Boeing 707 en route from Rome to Tel Aviv and ordered the jet to Algiers.
The last five Israeli passengers and seven crew members of the Israeli airline were not released by Algeria until Aug. 31, after intensive negotiations and Israel’s pledge to release captured Palestinians.
The previously second-longest incident began on March 2, 1981, and lasted 13 days. Three men hijacked a Pakistan International Airlines jet from Pakistan to Kabul, Afghanistan, and then to Damascus, Syria.
Pakistani officials met the hijackers’ demands by sending 54 political prisoners to Damascus in return for the release of 148 passengers on March 8. But the passengers were held aboard the aircraft until March 14--a total of 13 days--when the hijackers surrendered.
The three hijackers then flew from Damascus to New Delhi on April 20, 1981, and asked for asylum in India. In May, 1981, they flew to Kabul, Afghanistan.