Touch and go for skyjacked jets
Both a triple skyjacking in Central America and a Mideast skyjacking were still under way at this writing Tuesday. A Libyan airliner overtaken by three Shiite Muslims landed in Beirut after a flight from Rome. Four crew members, 35 passengers, and three terrorists were believed to be on board.
The hijackers said they wanted to draw attention to the disappearance of their religious leader, Imam Moussa Sadr, who disappeared under mysterious circumstances after a visit to Libya in August 1978.
The plane was hijacked Monday in Italian airspace on a flight from Zurich to Tripoli and was diverted first to Beirut and then to Athens before returning to Rome Tuesday.
Libya said the hijackers were working for the CIA as part of an American campaign against Libya.
Meanwhile, in Central America, all three Venezuelan airliners hijacked by heavily armed leftists landed at Havana's Jose Marti Airport. The hijackers were removed from the planes while the passengers and crew were taken into an airport departure lounge. The hijackers were believed to be members of the Venezuelan leftist Red Flag movement.
Monday night, two of the planes flew to Honduras and the third to Guatemala. Secret negotiations were held with authorities in both countries.It was not known what the hijackers' demands were.
There were originally more than 250 passengers on board the three aircraft, but the hijackers released many of them in stops along the route in exchange for fuel and food.