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Achille Lauro Hijacking

On October 7, 1985, four Palestinian militants seized the Italian cruise liner Achille Lauro off Port Said, Egypt. The hijackers, under the command of Palestine Liberation Front (PLF) leader Abu Abbas, held the more than 400 people aboard hostage for two days. The hijackers shot New Yorker Leon Klinghoffer, an elderly, wheelchair-bound, Jewish passenger, and dumped his body overboard. Klinghoffer's body later washed ashore on a Syrian beach.

Threatening to blow up the ship, the hijackers demanded the release of 50 Palestinian prisoners held in Israel. Egyptian and Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) officials negotiated with the hijackers and Abbas, who was not on the liner but claimed responsibility as the leader of the men on board. Abbas had commanded the radical PLF faction for many years and was known for having sent his men on surprise raids into the heart of ...

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