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EgyptAir Flight 648

From Academic Kids

EgyptAir Flight 648 was a Boeing 737 aircraft on a flight from Athens to Cairo, carrying 96 people. On November 23, 1985, three men of the Abu Nidal terrorist group hijacked the aircraft over the Mediterranean. An Egyptian sky marshal shot one of the hijackers, setting off a gunfight that depressurized the aircraft and forced it to land in Luqa, Malta.

On the ground in Malta, the hijackers demanded fuel. When they did not get it, they shot two American and three Israeli passengers in the back of the head, three of whom miraculously survived.

After hours of negotiations, Egyptian commandos stormed the aircraft by using an explosive device that killed many passengers. The commandos boarded the aircraft and fought with the hijackers, who threw several hand grenades inside the cabin. The explosions and fire severely damaged the aircraft. 58 passengers died, as well as two of the six crew members.

Only one hijacker survived the commando raid. Omar Rezaq, the man who allegedly shot the five passengers while demanding fuel, was arraigned in court in Malta, sentenced to 25 years in jail, but released after serving just seven years. He was later arrested in Nigeria and turned over to the FBI, and is now serving a life sentence in the United States after being found guilty on one count of air piracy.

Until September 11, 2001, this was the deadliest airplane hijacking in history.

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