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Crew of Saudi airliner foils hijacking attempt

Wednesday, October 16, 2002

KHARTOUM, Sudan -- A gun-wielding Saudi passenger attempted to hijack a Saudi Arabian Airlines jet Tuesday, but security forces overpowered and arrested him, officials said.

The gunman's motive was not immediately known, but the hijack attempt follows a series of terrorist acts throughout a jittery world. Muslim militants have criticized Saudi Arabia for its cooperation with the United States, beginning with the 1991 Persian Gulf War and continuing with the presence of U.S. troops on Saudi soil.

All 185 passengers and 19 crew were safe as the Airbus 300 returned to Khartoum, where security forces checked the jet for explosives and held the suspect, said Maj. Gen. Sayyid al-Husseini, spokesman for Sudan's Interior Ministry.

The man suffered bruises and other minor injuries when he resisted arrest, al-Husseini said. The suspect, identified as a Saudi, was armed with a small gun when he attempted to take over the jet 22 minutes after the 10:15 a.m. takeoff, authorities said.


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