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Hijacker returned to Saudi Arabia

Nov. 18, 2003 at 5:57 PM

MADINAH, Saudi Arabia, Nov. 18 (UPI) -- Saudi Arabia reportedly assumed custody Tuesday of one of two accused hijackers of a Saudi plane en route from Jeddah to London in October 2000.

The Arab News said Saudi Interior Minister Prince Naif said the suspect was handed over by Jordan "in accordance with security agreements, and he is being questioned."

The Saudi Arabian Airlines Boeing 777 was hijacked by two security officers moments after takeoff. The hijackers surrendered peacefully after forcing the jet to land in Baghdad and releasing all passengers and crew unharmed.

Iraqi authorities then arrested the alleged hijackers, Faisal Naji Al-Balawi and Ayesh Ali Al-Faridi.

Al-Balawi, who has now been extradited, left Iraq after the April fall of Baghdad, going to Jordan, where he was arrested.

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