El Al 707 on the runway
|Date||July 23, 1968|
|Aircraft type||Boeing 707|
|Flight origin||London Heathrow Airport|
|Stopover||Rome Leonardo da Vinci-Fiumicino Airport|
|Destination||Lod Airport (renamed Ben Gurion International Airport)|
|Passengers||51 (Including 3 hijackers)|
|Survivors||61 (Including 3 hijackers)|
The aircraft, a Boeing 707, was en route from London's Heathrow Airport to Leonardo da Vinci-Fiumicino Airport in Rome and then to Lod Airport, now known as Ben Gurion International Airport. The plane was diverted to Algiers.
One of the hijackers opened the unlocked door to the flight deck, clubbed the copilot with the butt of his pistol and ordered the plane to fly to Algiers. The other two hijackers threatened the passengers with pistols and hand grenades.
When the plane landed at Dar El Beida, Algerian authorities impounded the plane. The following day they sent all non-Israeli passengers to France on Air Algérie Caravelle jets. Ten women and children were released over the weekend. The remaining 12 Israeli passengers, and the crew of 10 were held as hostages for the remainder of the hijacking. The hijackers were identified as members of the Jordan-based Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. They were equipped with Iranian and Indian passports. The hijackers were carefully chosen by the PFLP because of their occupations (a pilot, a colonel in the Palestinian army, and a karate teacher).
The Israeli and Algerian governments negotiated the return of the hostages and plane through diplomatic channels. Five weeks later, everyone was released in exchange for 16 convicted Arab prisoners. According to the BBC, lasting 40 days, it was the longest hijacking of a commercial flight.
- "Drama of the Desert: The Week of the Hostages". Time.com. 1970-09-21. Retrieved 2014-07-18.
- "Skyway Robbery". Time.com. 1968-08-02. Retrieved 2014-07-18.
- Emergency Management Net Hijack list Archived July 26, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
- "History of airliner hijackings". BBC. 3 October 2001. Retrieved 8 December 2015.
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