Istanbul, Nov. 18 (Reuters): Israeli sky marshals foiled a suspected hijacking attempt last night El Al Airlines flight from Tel Aviv to Istanbul, overpowering a passenger armed with a pocketknife, witnesses and officials said.
An El Al official said today that Flight 581 landed safely in Istanbul and none of the 170 passengers on board was hurt. A Turkish airport official said one “terrorist” was being held after the incident.
Witnesses said the man, identified by El Al as an Israeli Arab, tried to storm the cockpit of the plane before security guards on the plane caught him.
“We heard people saying there was fighting and half a minute later it became clear that from row five or six a man ran amok towards the pilot's cabin, attacked a stewardess and tried to enter the cockpit,” an Israeli passenger on the plane told Israel army radio.
“We saw a stewardess running like crazy from the front of the place to the business section... she was terrified,” said the passenger, identified as Menachem. Security guards “threw him to the floor with his legs spread and his face to the floor. The passengers were hysterical but the flight attendants were very cool,”, he said.
Turkey's Anatolian news agency named the suspected hijacker as Tawfiq Fukra, a 23-year-old Israeli Arab.