Investigating Committee Upholds El Al Security Measures That Thwarted Hijack

A committee investigating the attempted hijacking of an El Al jet by Arab commandos last Sept. 6 has upheld the security measures taken by the Israeli air line, it was disclosed in a statement published today by El Al. The statement said that the committee recommended additional measures to protect passengers against hijackers some of which are already being applied. The hijack attempt in midair over the British coast was foiled when armed security guards shot one of the commandos to death while the other, Laila Khaled, was overpowered by male passengers. A steward, Shlomo Vieder, was seriously wounded in the scuffle but has since recovered. The committee’s findings on the conduct of the pilot, Capt. Uri Barlev, were not released. The fact that Capt. Barlev has remained grounded, and a report in the London Daily Mail yesterday gave rise to rumors that the committee had found his conduct not entirely satisfactory. According to the Daily Mail he was faulted for keeping one security guard in the pilots’ compartment thereby reducing the security of the rest of the plane. An El Al spokesman said there were “some inaccuracies” in the Daily Mail report. He said however that as far as the airline is concerned, Capt. Barlev could return to work tomorrow. The committee found that he had acted correctly when he decided to make an emergency landing in London with the company’s permission. The landing is credited with having saved the life of the steward.

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