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).
was no security on board the ship.
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.
gathered together the American passengers and proceeded to execute a 69 year old
man in a wheelchair, Leon Klinghoffer. His body was thrown overboard.
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.
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.
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.