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News Briefs

September 19, 1995
Web posted at: 2:40 p.m. EDT (1840 GMT)

hijacked plane

Steward hijacks Iranian airliner

OVDA AIR BASE, Israel (CNN) -- An Iranian passenger plane landed safely in Israel Tuesday after being briefly hijacked by a steward.

The Boeing 707, carrying 177 people, touched down at Ovda airport in the Negev desert after the pilot issued a call-to- arms and said he was running out of fuel. "We are hijacked," the pilot called out. "We are in a distressed condition." Conversations between the pilot and air traffic controllers were broadcast on Israel radio. (215K AIFF sound or 215K WAV sound)

The domestic flight was en route from Tehran to Kish when the steward pulled a pistol and commandeered the plane. According to Israel Army Radio, the man wanted to fly to Europe, but the aircraft's lack of fuel stalled that plan.

The hijacker surrendered within an hour after the plane touched down, and the passengers deplaned unharmed. The man, in the mid-30s, reportedly requested asylum in the United States. Israeli police have said the man will remain in Israel.


tractor cleanup

After the hurricane, aid floods into St. Thomas

ST. THOMAS, U.S. Virgin Islands (CNN) -- Federal officials said Tuesday they planned to open emergency distribution centers to supply food, fuel, and water to hurricane-ravaged St. Thomas.

The storm left a path of devastation, leaving residents without such crucial services as electricity, water and telephones. Officials said there are not enough utility poles on the island to replace damaged ones, and lack of electricity is worsening the water shortage. Telephone service remains limited to satellite phone and spotty cellular service.

On Monday, the Federal Emergency Management Agency began moving 358,000 pounds of cargo to St. Thomas and St. Croix. Those supplies included 300,000 military "MREs," or meals ready to eat.

In addition, military and commuter aircraft began shuttling tourists off the island to Puerto Rico. When Marilyn whipped into town on Saturday, some 2,000 travelers were visiting.

The storm damaged virtually every building on St. Thomas, destroying perhaps a quarter of them, according to the governor's office.


hijacked plane

Mideast talks move toward agreement on Hebron

TABA, Egypt (CNN) -- After a long night of talks in the Egyptian resort of Taba, Israel and the PLO said progress had been made on agreement over Palestinian self-rule.

The West Bank city of Hebron remains the main stumbling block to the latest round of discussions. The PLO has demanded that Israel withdraw its troops from the city, but Israel says the security forces are necessary to safeguard Israeli settlers. In Hebron, some 400 Israelis live among a majority of about 120,000 Palestinians.

Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres said the two sides have drafted a joint position paper on Hebron. They're now trying to paper over the gaps. Marwan Kanafani, a spokesman for PLO leader Yasser Arafat, confirmed Tuesday that progress had been made on the Hebron issue. It's still uncertain whether the leaders will reach agreement by Thursday, when a signing ceremony was scheduled in Washington.


Japanese cult claims responsibility for police shooting

TOKYO (CNN) -- A high-profile cult has reportedly claimed responsibility in an assassination attempt on Japan's national police chief.

Kiyohide Hayakawa, the "construction minister" for the Aum Shinri Kyo (Aum Supreme Truth sect), told Japanese newspapers that the cult shot Takji Kunimatsu last March. Their goal was to hamper investigation of a series of subway gas attacks.

The director-general of the National Police Agency, Kunimatsu was seriously injured in the shooting, which occurred shortly after he ordered a raid on cult members. The cult has been accused of the March 20 gas attack on Tokyo's subway system.

Previously, cult members have denied any involvement in the attempt against Kunimatsu.



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