7th October
It was on this day...
1985 Palestinian Terrorists Hijack Cruise Ship, The Achillie Lauro

The four heavily armed terrorists were from the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) (led by Abu Abbas), the terrorist wing of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) (led by Yassir Arafat).

There was no security on board the ship.

The terrorists demanded that Israel release PFLP members they were holding, and asked that Syria give them entry to a safe port. Syria refused, and the terrorists panicked.

They gathered together the American passengers and proceeded to execute a 69 year old man in a wheelchair, Leon Klinghoffer. His body was thrown overboard.

The world was outraged by this murder and the PLO were forced to withdraw their support from the terrorists. The terrorists received orders not to kill any more passengers from Abbas who also arranged for the ship to dock in Egypt.

The four terrorists managed to get off the ship in Egypt and onto a plane bound for Libya. US air force scrambled 2 F-14 fighter jets to intercept the jet which was forced to land in Sicily.

A tense standoff resulted and the Italians took all of the terrorists and Abbas into custody. The Italians allowed Abbas to leave the country, but the other terrorists were sentenced to terms in prison.

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