Hijackers surrender ship, all but one reported safe
Port Said, Egypt — Palestinian hijackers of an Italian cruise ship with up to 511 people aboard surrendered yesterday. At a news conference in Rome, Italian Prime Minister Bettino Craxi said he was told that one American passenger had apparently been killed by the hijackers.
Mr. Craxi identified the victim as Leon Klinghoffer. In Cairo, passengers who got off the ship said Mr. Klinghoffer, 69, was from New York City and was accompanied by his wife.
Earlier, the Italian Foreign Ministry -- citing a report from the ship's captain -- and the Egyptian Foreign Ministry said all the passengers were safe after two days of being held hostage in the Mediterranean.
The hijackers had left the ship and were being taken to the Port Said Naval Base, the Italian Foreign Ministry said, citing a radio message from the ship's captain.
Egyptian Foreign Minister Esmat Abdel-Meguid said, ``The hijackers, who number four, will leave Egypt. The ship will go to Port Said harbor. There were no demands.''
A PLO official in Tunis, who declined to be identified, said the PLO had ``no connection whatsoever'' with the piracy. An Egyptian official also said his country was certain PLO chairman Yasser Arafat had nothing to do with the hijacking.
The hijackers had said they were from the Palestine Liberation Front, a PLO splinter group, but the PLO spokesman in Tunis said they were not from the PLF. The Italian Foreign Ministry said yesterday there could be as many as 511 people on the Achille Lauro -- 180 passengers and 331 crew members. On Tuesday, the shipping company said 413 people were aboard.