March 9, 1996 in Nation/World

Hijacker Frees Hostages From Turkish Plane

Associated Press
 

Police arrested a pro-Chechen hijacker early today after he released all of the 109 hostages aboard a Turkish Cypriot airliner seized 12 hours earlier.

Initially, officials said four gunmen had commandeered the Boeing 727 after take-off from northern Cypress, but Munich Airport spokesman Hans-Joachim Bues said it appears there was only one.

The plane was headed for Istanbul.

The hostage drama ended quietly and without bloodshed when the hijacker allowed the rest of the 101 passengers and eight crew to leave the plan.

Before surrendering, the hijacker had released two small groups of hostages - six passengers, and then two crew members.

Police said they would discuss the motive and the nationality of the hijacker, as well as the discrepancy in the reporting of the number of gunmen, at a news conference later today.

They also expected to give the conditions of the freed crew and passengers, although there were no immediate reports of injuries.

© Copyright 1996 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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