TEL AVIV (Aug. 16)
The drama of the Lebanese Boeing 707 hijacked this afternoon came to an end when the plane took off from Lod Airport for Beirut with only 118 on board. The 119th passenger- the hijacker – will remain for “some time in Israel,” Premier Golda Meir said.
The passengers boarded the plane as Defense Minister Moshe Dayan and Chief of Staff David Elazar bade farewell, shaking hands with them Earlier the captain told the press how the hijacker entered the cockpit with two revolvers and ordered him to divert the plane to Israel. “I had no choice but to obey, having considered the danger to my passengers,” he said. Elazar said that the plane was ordered to remain in the air for some 20 minutes pending the security arrangements at the airport.
The hijacker, Muhammed Zaitouni, a Libyan citizen, told a press conference that he hijacked the plane to prove to the world that not all Arabs hate the Israelis. He said that from childhood he was moved by the persecution of the Jews and that he and many others believe Israel has a right to exist. He said he was not a member of any organization. The pistols he had were purchased in Egypt.