Iran Denies Ties to Terrorists in Fatal Hijacking

Associated Press

Iran today denied involvement in the hijacking of an Iraqi jet that crashed at a remote airstrip and burned, killing at least 62 people.

Anonymous callers to news media in Beirut made conflicting claims of responsibility on behalf of four terrorist groups. One caller said he spoke for Islamic Jihad, which is believed loyal to Iran.

Iraqi officials blamed agents of Iran, its enemy in the six-year border war, for the hijacking and crash Thursday. But Iran's official Islamic News Agency today issued a statement denying any involvement in the hijacking.

"We condemn any moves which may threaten the lives of innocent passengers," the agency quoted an unidentified Foreign Ministry official as saying. The IRNA dispatch was monitored in Nicosia, Cyprus.

Saudi Arabia said 62 people were killed when the jetliner en route to Amman, Jordan, from Baghdad crashed at Arar, a small desert airstrip about 250 miles southwest of Baghdad. (Story, Page 11).

News Agencies Get Calls

Anonymous calls to news organizations in Beirut claimed responsibility on behalf of Islamic Jihad and three previously unknown groups.

One caller said the Revolutionary Action Organization was responsible and would stage further attacks on "Iraqi embassies and interests" unless three members of the group are released from Iraqi jails.

Another said the Revolutionary Shia Organization was responsible but gave no further information.

Yet another caller said the Islamic Revolutionary Movement was responsible.

The Gulf News Agency quoted an Iraqi official Thursday as saying the hijackers were "two agents of the Iranian regime." He said both were killed, one by a security official and one in the crash.

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