Delta777-XXX From United States of America, joined Jun 2000, 1017 posts, RR: 8
Reply 1, posted (13 years 9 months 1 week 6 days 21 hours ago) and read 2749 times:
"The passengers and crew of a Saudi Arabian Airlines flight seized by armed men have been freed. The plane, hijacked en route from Jeddah to London, earlier landed in the Iraqi capital Baghdad.
All the hijackers have been taken away by the Iraqi authorities.
"It has ended peacefully. The hijackers were arrested and there will be investigations," an official told reporters at Saddam International Airport.
They had warned the pilot they were carrying dynamite and had threatened to blow up the Boeing 777-200 with its 95 passengers and up to 17 crew.
Iraqi television said there were five hijackers - an Ethiopian and four Saudis - and that they were seeking political asylum.
The passengers included 40 Britons and one American, as well as 15 Saudis, 15 Pakistanis, four South Africans, four Yemenis and two Kenyans.
One report said that a member of the Saudi royal family was among the passengers.
Saudi Arabia and Iraq broke off relations 10 years ago when Iraq invaded Kuwait.
The first alert of the hijack came after the pilot of flight SV115 contacted Egyptian civil aviation officials at 1455 local time (1255 GMT).
The airliner initially flew into Syrian airspace and circled the capital Damascus. Some reports said it had landed, but it later emerged that the landing had been aborted at the last moment on the orders of the hijacker.
The plane landed at Baghdad at 1945 local time (1645 GMT).
Speaking before the release, an Iraqi official in military uniform said the hijackers, who appeared to number four, said they seized the plane because they were upset over an investigation into the human rights situation in Saudi Arabia that was too favorable to the government.
They also said they ordered the plane to fly to Baghdad because Iraq rejects "U.S. hegemony," said the official, who was broadcast speaking on state television but not identified."