WASHINGTON (Sep. 7)
President Nixon was described as “deeply concerned” today over the hijacking of two American and one Swiss airliner by Arab commandos yesterday and the attempted hijacking of an Israeli airliner. Press secretary Ronald Ziegler told newsmen that the White House was “working” with the “nations involved.” It was not clear whether he meant the nations where the flights originated or Egypt and Jordan where the hijacked planes were taken. Although aerial hijackings have become almost commonplace occurrences, aviation and security experts appear to be at a loss on how to prevent them. Yesterday’s hijackings and attempted hijack are regarded as more political in character than most previous incidents of air piracy. There was no official word here on how many of the 600 passengers and crew members involved are American nationals or what measures were being taken to secure their immediate release and return home. Most experts feel that the only deterrent measure is prompt extradition and punishment for hijackers. (In London today, Capt. Laurie Taylor, chairman of the British Airline Pilots’ Association recalled that his organization has been urging a sterner attitude toward air piracy. It has called on all nations participating in international aviation to make hijacking a major crime punishable by the most severe penalties. It has also called for swift extradition of hijackers without formal procedures.