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Hijackers take their eyes off their hostages in Turkey

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Hijackers take their eyes off their hostages in Turkey


There was a peaceful end to a hijacking today of a plane flying between Turkish-occupied northern Cyprus and Istanbul. A Syrian and a Turk tried to take over the AtlasJet with 142 passengers and crew on board, forcing it to divert to Antalya to refuel before taking them to Tehran.

On landing, the hijackers released the women and children, but then passenger power took over as people fled the plane through the back door. Most escaped on their own, including the pilots, leaving four passengers and two crew members behind to face the hijackers, who were armed with a knife and, they said, a bomb.

Security forces then reopened negotiations, and the hijackers gave themselves up. They had never been able to reach the cockpit, and there is no indication they had been able to get explosives on the plane. One reportedly apologised to the Turkish people.

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