LONDON (Sep. 27)
British authorities will decide shortly whether to free Laila Khaled, the 24-year-old girl terrorist taken into custody after an abortive attempt to hijack an El A1 airliner off the British coast Sept. 6. A Foreign Office spokesman told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency today that a decision on Miss Khaled’s fate would be taken only after all of the hostages held by Arab terrorists in Jordan are released. The statement was made after eight British nationals freed Friday, returned safely home last night but before the release of the others was announced. The spokesman denied reports that appeared in several Sunday papers that Miss Khaled would be set free and allowed to go back to an Arab country. The release of all remaining hostages reported from Jordan today fulfilled the conditions of the British Government. It will have to decide now whether to turn Miss Khaled loose, hold her for prosecution here or turn her over to Israel.
The Israeli government has formally demanded extradition of the Haifa-born member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. The Israelis claim that her attempted hijack of an El A1 Jet constituted a crime on Israeli soil. British authorities have sought to determine whether the hijack attempt took place over British territorial waters, in which case Miss Khaled would be liable to prosecution in Britain. Chief Rabbi Immanuel Jakobovits of the British Commonwealth telegraphed congratulations today to Prime Minister Edward Heath for standing firm against piecemeal ransom of the hostages. His telegram read, “Anglo-Jewry joins me in proudly applauding your moral fortitude and inspiring stand by the humanitarian principles of non-discrimination in this agonizing episode.”