1970 s terrorism turns international n.
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Most aircraft hijackings are committed to use the passengers as hostages in an effort to either obtain transport to a given location or the release of comrades being held in prison. For many years it was a method of terrorism that was greatly feared in the West.


The hijacking of an aircraft is guaranteed international press coverage and presents the security forces of a country with a very difficult situation as an airliner with its few entry points and sealed outer skin becomes a fortress for a terrorist.


In 1969 there were 82 recorded hijack attempts worldwide, more than twice the total attempts for the whole period 1947-67. Most were Palestinians using hijacks as a political weapon to publicise their cause and to force the Israeli government to releasing Palestinian prisoners from jail.


In 1977-86 the total had dropped to 300 incidents and in 1987-96 this figure was reduced to 212. This reduction is possibly due to more advanced techniques in retaking hijacked airliners being developed by the worlds security forces.

el al hijacking
El Al Hijacking
  • What Happened:
  • On July 22, 1968, an El Al Israel Airlines plan departing from Rome and headed for Tel Aviv, Israel, was hijacked by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine(PFLP). They successfully diverted the plane, carrying 32 passengers and 10 crew members, to Algiers. Most of the passengers were released relatively quickly, but for seven crew members and five Israeli male passengers, who were held hostage for five weeks. After 40 days of negotiation, the Israelis agreed to the exchange.


  • The PFLP, a Palestinian nationalist organization with different ideological outlooks at different times (from Arab nationalist, to Maoist, to Leninist) sought to use spectacular tactics to bring world wide attention to Palestinian dispossession. They also sought an exchange of Palestinian militants held prisoner in Israeli prisons for the Israeli men they hostage.

What Made the Hijacking Notable?:

  • The 1968 hijacking was the first time that the PFLP, or any Palestinian group, hijacked a plane. This spectacular form of terrorism, designed to get global attention, would become a regular occurrence over the next several years.
  • The 1968 attack was the first time that an El Al flight was hijacked. El Al is Israel's major commercial carrier. Following the hijacking, El Al became extremely security-conscious and instituted the first baggage check program.
  • Why did hijacking become such a popular tactic?
  • What were the reasons for a drop in the number of hijackings?
  • Outline the reasons behind the El Al attack?
  • Why is this considered terrorism?
  • What was the outcome of the attack?