Four Kurds with pistols hidden in chocolate boxes hijacked an Italian airliner in the Middle East on Friday (7 September) saying they wanted to spotlight what they called the destruction of the people of Iran.
LV Airplane on tarmac in Rome
SV Police directing people away from area
SV Little boys looking through fence ZOOM INTO hijacked aircraft on tarmac
GV Passengers down steps of aircraft with hijacker at door of plane
SCU Released passenger greeted by relatives and other released passenger surrounded by newsmen
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Background: Four Kurds with pistols hidden in chocolate boxes hijacked an Italian airliner in the Middle East on Friday (7 September) saying they wanted to spotlight what they called the destruction of the people of Iran. They also demanded the release of missing Shi'ite leader Moussa Al-Sadr. The Alitalia DC-8 flew to Rome where the hijackers requested fuel and permission to fly to Cuba, and released most of their hostages.
SYNOPSIS: The hijackers, two of whom carried Lebanese passports said they wanted asylum in Cuba and the liberation of the Imam Moussa Al-Sadr. The leader of Lebanon's Shi'ite Moslem minority has been missing for a year after visiting the Libyan Jamahiriyah. The Libyan government said the Imam flew to Rome after his visit to Tripoli, but his followers have never been able to trace him. Last January five of his followers hijacked a Lebanese airliner and also demanded that the Imam be released.
In exchange for fuel the hijackers released 141 hostages, including three women crew members. One of the freed passengers said the hijackers told their captives they also wanted to draw world attention to the situation in Iranian Kurdistan, where an uprising had been repressed by troops ??? to the Islamic revol??? government of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. Three helicopters which arrived at the airport, carrying eighty commandos of the army's crack anti-terrorist squad kept a discreet distance from the airliner.
Airport officials said the Italian government was refusing to allow the plane to take off before an agreement on the fate of the remaining passengers and crew was reached. The officials said the hijackers have a prepared document they want read at the Non-Aligned summit. It denounces Libyan leader Colonel Muammar Gaddafi whom they accuse of organising the disappearance of Immam Moussa Al-Sadr.