TWA Flight 840 Hijacking

The hijacking of Trans World Airlines Flight 840 brought Palestinian guerrilla Leila Ali Khaled, who became an icon in the Arab world, to international attention.

On August 29, 1969, Khaled and Salim Issawi, hijackers for the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), took over the Rome-to-Tel Aviv flight. First-time hijacker Khaled had boarded Flight 840 wearing a wide-brimmed hat, a book called My Friend Che (about her hero Che Guevara) in hand. Not long after takeoff, she and Issawi, armed with grenades, jumped from their first-class seats and stormed the cockpit. By Khaled's account, she pulled the safety pin from her grenade and offered it to the pilot as a souvenir; he declined. They rerouted the plane to Damascus, Syria. Khaled forced the pilot to fly low over Haifa, the town (now a part of Israel) that she and her family ...

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