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Palestinian Terrorists Use Gliders to Cross into Israel from Lebanon

March 9, 1981
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

An Israeli described today how he wandered over the countryside for more than four hours yesterday with an armed Arab terrorist who had landed in the fields of Kibbutz Afek east of Haifa after crossing into Israel from Lebanon on a small motorized hand glider.

They parted on “almost friendly” terms, according to Shlomo Zemach of Carmiel village who had been forced to accompany the airborne terrorist on an apparently aimless trek during which they tried to steal cars or hitch rides on passing vehicles without success. Zemach notified the authorities as soon as he was freed. The terrorist was captured later by border police in the Arab village of Tamra where he had taken a family hostage and then fell asleep. No one was injured in the incident.

The terrorist identified himself only as Hassan and claimed that he came from Turkey. It was not clear whether he is a Turkish citizen or an Arab living in that country. He said he was a member of the Iraqi-backed Arab Liberation Front but a rival terrorist organization in Beirut claimed him as one

of their own and broadcast that its “air force had bombed installations from the air near Haifa.”

Hassan was one of two terrorists who attempted the glider route into Israel over the weekend. The second one landed short of the border and was captured by Maj. Saad Haddad’s Christian forces while asleep in a field and was turned over to Israeli authorities.

Zemach told police that he was on his way home when he was confronted by the terrorist with a Kalachnikof assault rifle who demanded his coat and flashlight. He said the man told him he had come to Israel “for Palestine.” Zemach said he cooperated to prevent shooting. He said he tried to steer the terrorist near houses where barking dogs might have raised an alarm.

Security authorities said today they were not much concerned by the terrorists’ use of hand gliders to infiltrate Israel. Chief of Staff Gen. Rafael Eitan indicated that the army has been on the alert for such vehicles and that they were relatively harmless in that they could carry only one person and a very small payload of arms.

Palestinian terrorists began resorting to unorthodox methods of infiltration last year when five of them attempted to cross the border in a hot air balloon. It crashed in Lebanon killing all of the occupants.

The gliders used in the latest attempts were similar to models used by sports clubs in Israel, the U. S. and elsewhere. They consist of aluminum tubing, triangular silk “wings” and a small Japanese-made gas engine of some 30 horse-power driving a propellor.

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