The forgotten story of the capture of hostages and the storming of the aircraft in Larnaca

The forgotten story of the capture of hostages and the storming of the aircraft in Larnaca

1A very famous episode from a series of numerous terrorist acts that shook the world in the 70s of the last century is not very familiar, if not completely unknown to the Russian-speaking public. At least, nothing like the detailed description of what happened in Cyprus in February 1978 could not be found in RuNet.

So, what happened on February 18-19, 18 years ago?
At 11:20 am on February 18, 1978, two armed men, a Jordanian and a Kuwaiti, 28 and 26 years old, entered the conference room of the Hilton Hotel in Nicosia, and coolly shot Secretary General Yusef es Sibai (al-Shabai) of the Asian-African conference, among the 16 hostages were two members of the Palestine Liberation Organization. The murdered Yusef es-Sibai was the Minister of Culture, a famous writer, journalist and editor of many of the leading publications of Egypt. Being a personal friend of President Anwar Sadat,He supported a plan for a peaceful settlement of the Arab-Israeli conflict, which led to the establishment of diplomatic relations and the creation of a security zone between the two states. Identified by terrorists, he was immediately killed as a "traitor to the Egyptian people."2The invaders demanded unimpeded travel from Nicosia to Larnaca airport and a refueled plane with a crew. At 13:40, a minibus with terrorists and hostages, including two Cypriot politicians, the Minister of the Interior and Defense (combining both posts) Christodoulos Veniamin, who arrived as a negotiator and voluntarily taken hostage, and the chairman of the Social Democratic Party EDEC Vassos Lissarides, who was the vice President of the Asian-African Cooperation, went from Nicosia to Larnaca.

On the evening of February 18, at 20:40, DC-8 Cyprus Airways with 12 hostages and 4 crew members flew out of Larnaca. Two Cypriot invaders released. However, the drama did not end there: the plane was consistently given permission to land Liby and Saudi Arabia, after which the airliner was allowed to refuel in Djibouti.At 5.30 pm on February 19, the DC-8 was forced to return to the airport of departure. And then the second, and most dramatic and bloody part of the story began. Furious with the assassination of es-Sibai, Egyptian President Anwar Sadat appealed to Cyprus President Spiros Cyprian to help resolve the crisis and free the hostages. Cyprian, who arrived in person at the airport to observe what was happening and lead the negotiations or a possible assault, assured the Egyptian counterpart that the Cypriot side would do everything possible to resolve the situation by peaceful means. However, along with the requests, the Egyptians began to prepare their own operation to free the hostages, clearly inspired by the success of the Israeli commandos in Uganda two years earlier. On the evening of February 19, the Egyptian Air Force C-130 Hercules took off with special forces on board. It was officially announced that the Egyptian Defense Minister is on board the staying aircraft, arriving to coordinate the rescue of the people on board the Douglas. Subsequently, the Cypriot side, in proof of confidence that it was meeting the official delegation, stressed that on behalf of President Cyprian had prepared a bouquet of flowers for the Minister of Defense of Egypt.3From the landed "Hercules" left a jeep, accompanied by machine gunners. The soldiers of the Cyprus National Guard, who were guarding the hijacked aircraft, after unsuccessful warnings opened fire and the jeep was immediately blown up by an RPG shot. The ensuing battle lasted 50 minutes, during which the Egyptian transporter was destroyed by an anti-tank guided missile, killing all three crew members of the C-130. The Egyptian paratroopers were bombarded by a flight control tower, where the President of Cyprus was at that time.4Realizing that the mission failed, and will not be able to fly, the Egyptian soldiers were forced to surrender to the Cypriots. In total, the losses of the Egyptian side amounted to 18 people, including 3 pilots, and another 15 people were in the hospital of Larnaca with various injuries. While the battle between the Cypriots and the Egyptians was going on, the militants, already inclined earlier because of the stalemate to surrender, laid down their arms. Both terrorists: Sari Mukham Qatar and Saeed Ali were brought before a Cypriot court and transferred to Egypt, where they were sentenced to death, later commuted to life imprisonment.5The consequence of the incident was a break in diplomatic relations between the two countries. The Egyptian President laid the blame for the death of his soldiers on the Cypriot side, not hesitating in expressions by calling President Cyprian directly on cameras and microphones. Cyprus has consistently insisted on its rightness and the protection of the legitimate interests and sovereignty of the republic, which does not allow foreign armies to conduct military operations on its territory without the consent and approval of the government and parliament. Diplomatic relations were restored under President Hosni Mubarak on May 30, 1984.6Once again I remind you that this text appears to be the most complete picture of the tragedy 38 years ago, although it was covered in the Soviet press, but completely forgotten in the modern picture of the past of Cyprus and the Middle East in Russian.

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  • The forgotten story of the capture of hostages and the storming of the aircraft in Larnaca

    The forgotten story of the capture of hostages and the storming of the aircraft in Larnaca

    The forgotten story of the capture of hostages and the storming of the aircraft in Larnaca

    The forgotten story of the capture of hostages and the storming of the aircraft in Larnaca

    The forgotten story of the capture of hostages and the storming of the aircraft in Larnaca

    The forgotten story of the capture of hostages and the storming of the aircraft in Larnaca

    The forgotten story of the capture of hostages and the storming of the aircraft in Larnaca

    The forgotten story of the capture of hostages and the storming of the aircraft in Larnaca

    The forgotten story of the capture of hostages and the storming of the aircraft in Larnaca

    The forgotten story of the capture of hostages and the storming of the aircraft in Larnaca

    The forgotten story of the capture of hostages and the storming of the aircraft in Larnaca The forgotten story of the capture of hostages and the storming of the aircraft in Larnaca The forgotten story of the capture of hostages and the storming of the aircraft in Larnaca The forgotten story of the capture of hostages and the storming of the aircraft in Larnaca The forgotten story of the capture of hostages and the storming of the aircraft in Larnaca The forgotten story of the capture of hostages and the storming of the aircraft in Larnaca The forgotten story of the capture of hostages and the storming of the aircraft in Larnaca The forgotten story of the capture of hostages and the storming of the aircraft in Larnaca The forgotten story of the capture of hostages and the storming of the aircraft in Larnaca The forgotten story of the capture of hostages and the storming of the aircraft in Larnaca The forgotten story of the capture of hostages and the storming of the aircraft in Larnaca The forgotten story of the capture of hostages and the storming of the aircraft in Larnaca The forgotten story of the capture of hostages and the storming of the aircraft in Larnaca The forgotten story of the capture of hostages and the storming of the aircraft in Larnaca The forgotten story of the capture of hostages and the storming of the aircraft in Larnaca The forgotten story of the capture of hostages and the storming of the aircraft in Larnaca The forgotten story of the capture of hostages and the storming of the aircraft in Larnaca The forgotten story of the capture of hostages and the storming of the aircraft in Larnaca