Israel Will Not Release Two Algerians, Contrary to Earlier Reports
Menu JTA Search

Israel Will Not Release Two Algerians, Contrary to Earlier Reports

Contrary to earlier reports, Israel will not release two Algerian nationals detained here since August 14 as a reciprocal gesture for the release of the last of the hijacked airline passengers held by Arab terrorists in Jordan, a Foreign Ministry official said last night. Shimon Amir, deputy director general of the Ministry said in a radio interview that Israel was not a party to any deal with the terrorists. Following release of the hostages last week, the British, Swiss and West German governments freed seven Arab commandos in their custody. Israel has already protested to those governments, charging that the releases violated international law and the laws of the countries concerned. Mr. Amir conceded that at meetings with the other governments in Berne, before the hijack victims were set free, Israel had not opposed an exchange “lest we be accused of endangering the lives of the hostages.” This gave rise to reports that Israel would free the Algerians plus an unspecified number of other Arabs in its custody. The two Algerians, All Belaziz and Maj. Khatib Jaloul, were removed from a BOAC airliner when it touched down at Lydda Airport on a flight from the Far East to Europe. Both were subsequently identified as high ranking officials of the Algerian government and Maj. Jaloul was alleged to be the chief of Algeria’s secret police. Israel claims that the two men are not being held hostage. It claims the right to hold them for “interrogation” as agents of a country at war with Israel.