Sunday Times

Oc­to­ber 7 1985

- Middle East News · Incidents · Politics · Middle East Politics · Israel · Sweden · Boeing · Cairo · Tunisia · NATO · United States of America · Alessandria · Ashdod · Port Said · Tartous · Syria · EgyptAir

Four PLF gun­men hi­jack the Ital­ian cruise ship Achille Lauro (car­ry­ing 97 pas­sen­gers and 450 crew) off the Egyp­tian coast and de­mand the re­lease of 50 Pales­tini­ans held by Is­rael. Be­fore de­part­ing Alexan­dria en route to Ash­dod, 651 pas­sen­gers went ashore to tour the pyra­mids and ren­dezvous with the ship in Port Said. The hi­jack­ers, plan­ning an at­tack on Is­rael from Ash­dod, are caught clean­ing firearms in their cabin and hi­jack the ship in­stead. They or­der Cap­tain Ger­ardo de Rosa to sail to Tar­tus, Syria. An SOS is picked up in Swe­den. The ship is turned away from Tar­tus on the 8th. At about 3pm, a hi­jacker shoots and kills wheel­chair-bound Leon Klinghof­fer, 69, an Amer­i­can Jew (on the cruise for his wife Mar­i­lyn’s 58th birth­day, on the 6th, and their 36th wed­ding an­niver­sary), and forces two crew mem­bers to throw him and his wheel­chair over­board. The hi­jack­ers leave the ship in Port Said on the 9th and De Rosa breaks the news of the mur­der. The hi­jack­ers are ar­rested on the 10th af­ter the Egyp­tAir Boe­ing 737 tak­ing them from Cairo to Tu­nisia is in­ter­cepted by US Tom­cats and “es­corted” to Nato Base Sigonella in Sicily. On the 15th, the US con­firms that Klinghof­fer’s body had been found on the Tu­nisian coast. The pic­ture is the last of him and Mar­i­lyn, front, on the ship

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