The pilot of a comandeered EgyptAir jet said Sunday...


VALLETTA, Malta -- The pilot of a comandeered EgyptAir jet said Sunday hijackers killed seven people to press demands for fuel and were threatening to execute a passenger every half hour until their request was satisfied. Radio reports said an eighth person was killed.

'I don't want any more bloodshed. Give me fuel,' pilot Hani Galal radioed the control tower. But Maltese Prime Minister Carmelo Mifsud Bonnici refused to refuel the jet until the hijackers released all the passengers.


Malta Radio reported the death toll reached eight at late afternoon.

An Egyptian air force Hercules C-130 landed at midday and took up a position opposite the Egyptair Boeing 737. Five Egyptian paratroopers, who arrived on the plane, stood guard with submachine guns.

Malta's state television said a second transport followed.

Government sources in Cairo said Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak dispatched the commandos following a 90-minute crisis meeting earlier Sunday.


Television said that in addition to the dead, six wounded hostages were removed from the plane and hospitalized and 11 women were freed and sent to a hotel.

Maltese negotiators told the hijackers at midafternoon they will provide no more food until the undetermined number of children aboard are released.

The dead included at least two Egyptian security guards and one hijacker killed in a shootout as the hijackers commandeered the plane over the island of Milos on an Athens-Cairo flight, the pilot and one of the freed passengers said.

The passenger, Loretana Chafik, an Egyptian, said she saw one of the Egyptian sky marshalls shoot a hijacker dead and then be shot dead himself by another hijacker.

A woman whose nationality was not immediately disclosed also was killed.

Among the wounded was an Israeli woman, one of two Israelis aboard the plane, who was shot in the head. Maltese officials said she lived in New York City and was en route to Bangkok.

U.S. officials said an American also was wounded, and the pilot said two women flight attendents were hurt, one of them seriously.

In addition to the Americans and Israelis, the 86 passengers included 36 Egyptians, 21 Filippinos, 17 Greeks, two French, two Australians, two Canadians, two Mexicans, two Moroccans, a Ghanian, a Spaniard, a Belgian and a Tunisian, police said.


The plane also carried four sky marshalls and six crew members.

Early Sunday, Galal said the hijackers, who claimed to belong to a group called Egypt Revolution, were threatening to kill a passenger every 30 minutes until the jet's fuel tanks were refilled. Sources at the airport in Cairo, Egypt, had said Saturday night that the hijackers were threatening to kill a passenger every 15 minutes.

The pilot indicated that crewmembers as well as passengers were wounded.

'I want to know the condition of two hostesses, especially Miss Hanna, who was badly injured,' he said.

Carmelo Mifsud Bonnici, prime minister of the British Commonwealth republic, conducted nightlong negotiations with the hijackers from the control tower of Luqa Airport. U.S. Ambassador Gary Matthews, the ambassadors of Egypt and Libya and a representative of the Palestine Liberation Organization all stood by.

Bonnici, who refused to refuel the plane until all hostages were freed, won the release of 11 young women, identified as Egyptians and Filippinos. They were taken to the Country Hotel near the airport.

Shortly after dawn, an Air Malta van delivered boxes of food requested by the captain and left them on the aircraft's steps.

In Egypt, President Hosni Mubarak held an emergency meeting with his aides early Sunday to discuss the hijacking, but no statement was issued afterwards.


Foreign Minister Esmat Abdel-Meguid, however, said it was his government's impression the hijackers 'boarded the plane in Athens, infiltrated to it with their weapons and committed their crime while the plane was heading to Cairo.'

Cairo newspapers Sunday said the hijackers, after commandeering the plane, sent a message proclaiming: 'Egypt Revolution group announces the hijacking of EgyptAir flight 648 heading from Athens to Cairo.' Newspapers said the hijackers spoke an Arabic dialect that sounded either Syrian or Lebanese.

Egypt Revolution is an opposition group which claimed responsibility for gunning down an Israeli envoy in Cairo in August.

Abdel-Meguid said he believes the Egypt Revolution group that claimed responsibility for the hijacking is 'non-existent.'

The exact number of people who boarded the jet in Athens was unknown. MENA said the plane had 88 passengers and eight crew members, while officials at Athens airport said the plane left the Greek capital with 91 passengers and six crew members aboard. Abdel-Meguid said the plane carried 91 passengers, plus crew.

Maltese television said the plane touched down at Luqa Airport with 'some dead people on board' and the hijackers threw out one body, apparently to back demands for refueling.

The hijacking came five months after Moslem Shiite gunmen commandeered Trans World Airways Flight 847 from the same airport in Athens, prompting President Reagan four days later to issue a travel advisory to Americans.


Airport security was stepped up following the incident and a team of international experts in July called Athens 'one of the best guarded airports in the world.'

The International Air Transport Association, a trade group for the world's major airlines, said on July 16 that Greece had followed the recommendations of an IATA team. The Reagan administration lifted the travel advisory on July 22.

Maltese authorities last had to deal with a hijacking Feb. 21, 1983, when two renegade Libyan army officers commandeered a Libyan Arab Airways Boeing 727 and held 158 passengers and crew hostage for 63 hours before surrendering.

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