Following is a transcript released Wednesday by the Israeli army of part of what it said was an Oct. 9 conversation monitored by Israeli intelligence between reputed Palestinian terrorist leader Abul Abbas and the four hijackers of an Italian cruise ship.
The army said that Abbas, who spoke from the ship-to-shore radio station at Port Said, Egypt, was identified by the code name Abu Khaled, and the hijackers on the Achille Lauro with whom he spoke were identified by the names Jayed and Majed.
The army translated the Arabic conversation into English:
Abbas: This is Abu Khaled, this is Abu Khaled, this is Abu Khaled. How do you hear me?
A voice at Port Said (apparently talking to the hijackers): Listen to this message so that you can calm down. Abu Khaled (Abbas) asked Manolyo (apparently another one of the hijackers) and Majed to maintain the passengers' safety.
Port Said: He will call you back the minute the comms (communications) improve.
Abbas: Who is speaking? Is this Majed?
Majed: Right, right.
Abbas: How are you, Majed?
Majed: Good, thank God.
Abbas: Listen to me well. First of all, the passengers should be treated very well. In addition, you must apologize to them and the ship's crew and to the captain, and tell them our objective was not to take control of the ship. Tell them what your main objective is . . . .Can you hear me well?
Majed: Right, we talked to them and we told them that our objective was not to take control of the ship. Roger?
Jayed : . . . But if you can call Abu Khaled now for me, and get me a small sign from him that he sent me the messages.
Port Said: The passengers are well and the captain is the one who sent the message using a fishing boat. I can call Abu Khaled for you and receive a sign from him for you that will prove that he is the one who sent the messages.