MONTREAL (Mar. 3)
The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) met today behind closed doors with the purpose of devising machinery to put an end to unlawful interference with civil aviation. A decision on a proposal sponsored by the United States and eight other countries is expected March 17 after a legal sub-committee report is presented to the ICAO Council, according to Walter Binaghi, ICAO president. The proposal deals with security of airports, safety of flights and return of hijackers. ICAO is affiliated with the United Nations.
The Swiss Government has officially protested to the Governments of Syria, Jordan and Lebanon over the Feb. 18 machine gun attack by Arab terrorists on an El Al Airliner at Zurich Airport, and asked them to take steps “to prevent any new violations of Swiss territory.” The Swiss authorities also formally “complained” to Israel that the El Al security guard, 22 year-old Mordechai Rachamim, had violated Swiss sovereignty by firing a weapon at the Arab attackers. Mr. Rachamim, a former paratrooper, killed one of the terrorists. He is being held for trial as are the three surviving attackers. The protests were handed to the three Arab chiefs of mission by Swiss Foreign Minister Willy Spuhler. The Ministry said the terrorists admitted to Swiss authorities that they had been trained in Jordan and that some of them left from Syria to carry out the attack in Zurich. Lebanon was involved because Beirut radio broadcast a statement by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine claiming responsibility for the attack.
(In a note handed to Swiss authorities today, Israel said that Mr. Rachamim was ordered to protect the plane from the inside, but when the plane and passengers were attacked, he acted in defense of the passengers and crew and in self-defense when he assaulted the terrorists. His action, forcing their retreat, saved many lives, Israel said.
In Bonn, West Germany’s Interior Minister Ernst Benda told the Bundestag (Lower House) today that adequate security measures were in force to prevent attacks on El Al airliners using German airports. El Al planes land at Munich and Frankfurt.)