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Guerrilla Leaders Straddle Hijack Issue, Arab Pilots Threaten Strike Retaliation

Arab guerrilla leaders meeting in Cairo reportedly refused to support activities such as aerial hijacking that would endanger the lives of innocent civilians. But the Arab Pilots Association in Cairo threatened today to take unspecified retaliatory action if the International Federation of Airline Pilots Associations (IFALPA ) went through with its proposed 24-hour world-wide pilots’ strike to protest the hijacking of a TWA airliner to Syria by Arab commandos last week.

The IFALPA executive, meeting in Paris, warned that it would call such a strike unless the United Nations took immediate action to gain the release of two Israeli nationals aboard the TWA plane who are still being held by Syria. The Arab pilots claimed that Western pilots were “making this threat because two Arab commandos launched a daring act toward liberation of their usurped homeland.” They added that the Western pilots had ignored numerous hijackings of American planes to Cuba.

The Arab guerrilla chiefs attending a meeting of the Palestinian National Council in Cairo today reportedly feared that hijacking airliners could turn world opinion against the Arab cause. The three-day meeting was called to coordinate strategy against Israel. A statement issued by the Council said it would neither “condone nor condemn such spectacular attacks as airplane hijacking.”

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