RAWALPINDI, Pakistan, July 6, Reuter: A Palestinian sentenced to death on Wednesday for hijacking a U.S. Airliner vowed he would do it again if he had the chance.

A Pakistani court sentenced Salman Ali Al Turki and four other Palestinians to hang for the 1986 hijacking of a Pan Am Jumbo Jet at Karachi airport in which 22 people were killed.

An unrepentant Turki, said to have masterminded the hijacking, told reporters later: “If we go out ‘we will hijack another American plane. We will hijack again and again until our country (Palestine) is free”.

‘The five Palestinians never denied seizing the airliner on September 5, 1986, but said the 22 people were killed in a hail of gunfire when Pakistani commandos stormed the plane 16 hours after the hijack began.

Judge Mohammad Zafar Babar rejected their agreement, saying the Commandos were nowhere near the plane when the passengers mostly Indians, were killed.

The five were brought shackled and handcuffed to the makeshift court in Rawalpindi Central Jail where they have been on trial since August last year.

They smiled and chatted among themselves as Babar read out parts of the 147page verdict.

The court had been told the Pan ‘Am jet with 400 people aboard ‘was seized by four men wearing Pakistani security uniforms and armed with machineguns and grenades.

They killed one passenger, and ‘wounded another and three baggage handlers in a burst of gunfire.

Article extracted from this publication >> July 15, 1988