Tags: Hijacker | And | Hostages | Return | Moscow

Hijacker And Hostages Return to Moscow

Monday, 13 November 2000 12:00 AM

The hijacker arrived at Moscow's Vnukovo airport, about 30 minutes before those aboard the seized jet landed there in a second government plane.

Israeli police identified the hijacker as Ahmad Amir Rahmanovich, 27. He is believed to be from Dagestan, bordering strife-torn Chechnya.

Officials said the hijacker told them that he had been sent by his father to warn the white race of the yellow peril, or Asian race, and reportedly chose Israel because he thought the Jews would understand him.

The hijacker boarded the three-engine Tupolev 154 in Dagestan's capital of Mahachkala. The plane was on its way to Moscow when he entered the cockpit and demanded to fly to Israel.

The plane then made a refueling stop in Baku on the Black Sea before crossing Turkey toward Israel.

The Israelis, who feared Chechen rebels may try to crash into a city, told the pilot he couldn't land at Ben Gurion International Airport east of Tel Aviv. They said the airport was closed and the runways were blocked.

It was a bluff. The runways were lit and the projector atop the control tower was seen miles away.

Two Israeli Air Force F-15 fighter planes met the hijacked aircraft over he eastern Mediterranean while elite troops rushed to the Uvda air force base in the southern Negev desert and took up positions.

Prime Minister Barak approved the landing and when the troops were ready, the fighter planes escorted the hijacked Tupolev to Uvda.

Some 15 minutes later the hijacker got out, was told to undress to make sure he did not conceal weapons, and then, covered by sharpshooters, advanced toward an Israeli team that took him for questioning.

He presented a cassette and two letters his father apparently wrote warning the white race of the yellow race, the Head of the Southern Command, Major General Yom -Tov Samia said.

"There was a mixture of nonsense and requests in this letter," he said. One of the letters was addressed to Japan's emperor, Samia said.

The passengers were taken to a medical examination and then for a meal while the plane was searched for hidden explosives and traps. No bombs were found.

The quick ending to the 24-hour drama made Prime Minister Ehud Barak change his plans while in flight. Barak had been in London on the way to meet President Clinton in Washington. Barak turned back toward Israel and was near Cyprus when the hijacking incident ended. Barak's plane then turned around and resumed its flight to Washington for Barak's meeting with Clinton. (Joshua Brilliant contributed to this report from Tel Aviv)

(C) 2000 UPI All Rights Reserved.

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The hijacker arrived at Moscow's Vnukovo airport, about 30 minutes before those aboard the seized jet landed there in a second government plane. Israeli police identified the hijacker as Ahmad Amir Rahmanovich, 27. He is believed to be from Dagestan, bordering strife-torn...
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2000-00-13
Monday, 13 November 2000 12:00 AM
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