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Turkey hijack passengers recount ordeal

Turkey hijack passengers recount ordeal
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Passengers on board a hijacked ferry in Turkey have been recounting their 12-hour ordeal – and how they helped commandos come aboard the ship and rescue them.

The lone hijacker, who was carrying explosives, was killed. It is thought he was a Kurdish militant.

According to some reports, those onboard the Kartepe only realised they had been hijacked when they saw reports on the television in the passenger lounge.

One passenger, Kadir Altunoglu explained: “The security forces called us by phone and our friends opened the door and let them in. We stayed silent and waited there. Then they went up, there were 15 commandos.”

Another, Ceyhum Tezer, described how they slipped away from the hostage taker. “We went downstairs without him realising. At that moment the commandos came in and they overpowered him in 10 minutes,” he said.

The ferry with its six-man crew and 18 passengers had been en route from Izmit to Goljuk but diverted to near Istanbul.

The assault came just before dawn.

Kurdish rebels have stepped up attacks on Turkish forces in the south east in recent months. However hijacking is not a common tactic for them in their struggle for a homeland.