JERUSALEM (Aug. 16)
Transportation Minister Gad Yaacobi today sent a letter to the International Civil Aviation Organization asking that the Montreal Convention of 1971, aimed at combatting terrorism in the air, be widened to include terrorist attacks outside an airplane such as the attack by two terrorists at the Istanbul airport last week.
In his letter, Yaacobi revealed that had it not been for an extra checkpoint that El Al had placed at the Istanbul terminal “a far greater tragedy could have taken place” than the death of four passengers and injury of 24.
Yaacobi said that the two terrorists felt sure their baggage would not be searched. He said the terrorists left Libya with the knowledge of Libyan authorities and arrived in Rome where their hand luggage was not searched. He said that being passengers in transit they were also not searched when they arrived in Istanbul. But at the El Al checkpoint they found they could not get through without being searched and thus launched their attack.
The Transportation Minister told the Cabinet yesterday that he had received replies from eight foreign transportation ministers to the message he sent them on July 5 urging tighter security measures against potential hijackers. He said the reply from U.S. Transportation Secretary William Coleman Jr. was “positive.”
Meanwhile in Istanbul, the two terrorists appeared before a magistrate to be formally charged with murder. The Judge told them that the prosecution would ask for the death penalty when their trial starts and ordered them to be held in custody until then.