Israel 'involved in 1976 Air France hijack'

1st June 2007, Comments 0 comments

LONDON, June 1, 2007 (AFP) - Israel's secret service may have been involved in the hijack of an Air France plane in 1976 by pro-Palestinian hijackers, according to newly declassified British government documents released Friday.

LONDON, June 1, 2007 (AFP) - Israel's secret service may have been involved in the hijack of an Air France plane in 1976 by pro-Palestinian hijackers, according to newly declassified British government documents released Friday.

Some 98 people, mainly Israelis or Jews, were held by hijackers at Entebbe airport in Uganda during an eight-day crisis concluded when Israeli troops stormed the building where captives were detained.

The hijackers, from the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and the German Baader-Meinhof gang, said they wanted the release from prison of Palestinian militants.

But according to the new British information, Israel's secret service, the Shin Beit, and the PFLP are alleged to have joined forces in an "unholy alliance" in a bid to change foreign policy in the Middle East.

The claim emerged in a document written by official DH Colvin at the British embassy in Paris, quoting a contact at the Euro-Arab Parliamentary Association, as the crisis unfolded.

"According to his information, the hijack was the work of the PFLP, with help from the Israeli Secret Service, the Shin Beit," he wrote.

"The operation was designed to torpedo the PLO's (Palestine Liberation Organisation) standing in France and to prevent what they see as a growing rapprochement between the PLO and the Americans.

"Their nightmare is that...one will witness the imposition in the Middle East of a Pax Americana, which will be the advantage of the PLO (who will gain international respectability and perhaps the right to establish a state on evacuated territories) and to the disadvantage of the Refusal Front (who will be squeezed right out in any overall peace settlement and will lose their raison d'etre) and Israel who will be forced to evacuate occupied territory.

"Hence the unholy alliance of the hijacking."

The document also suggested that Ugandan president Idi Amin may have been collaborating with the hijackers.

Troops flew some 4,000 kilometres (2,500 miles) from Israel to land at the airport and storm the building.

Three hostages died in the subsequent shoot-out, while an Israeli officer commanding the raiders, 20 Ugandans and the seven hijackers were also killed.

The document was released by the National Archives in London.


Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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