PARIS (Jun. 30)
Most of the hostages freed by the Air France hijackers at Entebbe Airport in Uganda today bear Jewish-sounding names. One of them, definitely known to be an Israeli, was identified as Blind Zuckerhorn, 80, who was admitted to a hospital at Entebbe. The other released passengers are due here late tonight aboard an Air France Boeing 707 that was sent to Uganda to pick them up.
They include 33 French nationals, three Moroccan Jews, two Canadians identified as Eric and Carole Taylor and several people whose nationalities are not known. Gilbert Perol, director general of Air France, told a press conference here this evening that a second group of about 50 hostages might be released later tonight and that a second Air France plane has left Orly Airport to pick them up. At least 25 of the hostages already released are men.
Negotiations for the release were conducted by President Idi Amin of Uganda according to a report broadcast by Uganda Radio. The report said Amin hoped more hostages will be freed by tomorrow morning. Observers in Paris, however, fear the situation might deteriorate tomorrow with the terrorists’ deadline for compliance with their demands. This situation will be even more acute as Amin is expected to leave Uganda that same day to attend the Organization for African Unity conference which is due Friday on the island of Mauritius, 500 miles east of Madagascar.
FIRM ATTITUDE PLEDGED
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Jacques Chirac told Parliament here this afternoon: “I want to express the government’s emotion and indignation in the face of this new act of savage piracy. France will adopt an attitude in this case which will be in line with its traditional position, that is to say, firmness.” Chirac added that under current circumstances he cannot reveal details concerning the negotiations.
Actually, it appears no real negotiations have taken place as yet. The two French envoys. Ambassador Pierre Renard and Paul Bonnefous, have not been allowed to meet the hijackers themselves Most of their contacts were restricted to meetings with Amin.
Israeli diplomats in Paris stress that France has not made any demands on Israel and has brought no pressure to bear. These officials say the French have up to now considered the affair as being France’s sole responsibility. The diplomats say that the other concerned countries, West Germany and Switzerland, also seem to have adopted a firm attitude.