El Al attempted hi-jack story…

…about a man who attempted a hijacking on a flight to Turkey in 2002, whom a Turkish court subsequently released.  To be sure, had the suspect been a PKK terrorist (a Kurdish group fighting Turkey), he’d be, how do they say it, pushing up daisies. Note the heroes of the story — the El Al flight attendant and the undercover security officers on the flight.  These folks never get a chance to relax…

From Haaretz or JPost (Sept 05): 

Police and Shin Bet arrested Wednesday an Israeli Arab man who allegedly tried to hijack an El Al flight from Israel to Turkey three years ago. The man, Tawfik Fukara, 27, of the village of Bouina Nejidat in the Galilee, was nabbed by police upon arrival at Ben-Gurion International Airport from Turkey, where he was recently released from prison after a Turkish court decided that there was not enough evidence to try him.Fukrah boarded an Istanbul-bound flight at Ben-Gurion International Airport in November 2002, at the height of the second Intifada.


Eye-witnesses say he insisted on sitting near the front of the airplane, next to the cockpit.Half an hour before arrival at Istanbul, Fukara allegedly jumped a flight attendant and tried to draw a pocket knife concealed in his belt.The flight attendant managed to escape his grip and press the distress signal button that alerted the pilot to the situation.Meanwhile, Fukara made his way towards the cockpit. Two security guards who were travelling undercover on-board then rushed Fukara and overpowered him.

Upon arrival in Istanbul, they handed him over to Turkish custody.

In his court testament one of the security guards said that Fukara was shouting “I will die here today, you killed my brothers” at the time of his arrest.

Fukara is said to made his travel plans only three days before the flight, asking the travel agent for the cheapest ticket available regardless of its destination. Furthermore, he is said to have made no lodging arrangements in Istanbul.

He arrived at the airport carrying very little baggage. Though specifically asked so by a security guard suspicious of him, he denied that he was bearing arms of any kind.

During his interrogation in Istanbul, he told Turkish police that he intended to hijack the plane, turn it back on its track and crash it into a high-rise building in Tel Aviv.

However, he later retracted this statement, saying that it was forcibly taken from him. “I told them what they wanted to hear,” Fukara said.

At the time, the incident received massive media coverage by the Israeli press. Television and radio broadcasts were interrupted as news bulletins reported the dramatic developments.

Fukara’s lawyer said that a short time after the incident took place Shin Bet representatives lost interest in it which, in his opinion, was a sign that the whole incident had been nothing more than a big misunderstanding.


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