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On June 14, 1985, two gunmen used hand grenades and a pistol to overpower a commercial jet bound for Rome from Athens. The 153 passengers and crew members aboard Trans World Airlines Flight 847, many of them Americans, were caught in a 16-day showdown as the plane flew back and forth between Beirut and Algiers.

The hijackers, who were later tied to the Shiite Muslim militant group and political party Hezbollah, burst into the cockpit and ordered pilot John Testrake to fly to Algiers. The image of one of the hijackers holding a gun to Testrake's head was shown on TV screens around the world.

The Boeing 727's low fuel supply would take the aircraft only as far as Beirut. There the hijackers refueled and issued their first demands. They called for the release of 766 prisoners in Israel, many of them ...

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