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Saudis Storm Plane to End Chechen Hijacking

Wednesday, August 29, 2001 | Tag Cloud Tags: ,

Saudi security forces stormed a hijacked Russian plane on Friday, ending a hostage situation that began when armed Chechen men commandeered the plane after takeoff from Istanbul yesterday. Three people were killed and several others were injured in the commando operation.

Two men and a woman were killed in the operation, which lasted a few minutes and came after an hours-long standoff between the hijackers and Saudi authorities. Press reports out of Moscow claimed the dead included one hijacker, one crew member and one female Turkish passenger. Paramedics in Medina said the woman was stabbed to death, while the two men were shot. One man was handcuffed and led away by Saudi security forces.

Up to 112 people were still aboard the plane at the time Saudi forces moved in. Earlier, as many as 46 people had been freed or escaped. A Turkish aviation official said the Saudi forces stormed the plane after the hijackers failed to establish further contact with the Saudis. The actual number of hijackers varied from two to four, and their demands were unclear.

Also on Thursday, a British man and an Egyptian received minor injuries in an explosion outside a bookstore in Riyadh's downtown district. Saudi press said police were investigating the blast, the fourth in Riyadh since November. The explosion reportedly was caused by a bomb placed in a garbage can outside the bookstore.

Two bombings in Riyadh between Nov. 17 and Dec. 15 killed a Briton and injured four others. A third explosion, in Khobar in eastern Saudi Arabia, injured one person. Three foreigners working in Saudi Arabia - a Briton, a Belgian and a Canadian - have been arrested in connection with last year's bombings and remain in custody.

Used with Permission from International Christian Embassy Jerusalem.

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