2001 News Story

Official statemetn on end of hijacked plane situation

The Ministry of Interior has reported that Saudi security forces today successfully stormed the hijacked Russian plane that landed yesterday at Prince Muhammad bin Abdulaziz Airport in Madinah, arresting the hijackers and freeing all the remaining hostages. During the operation, one of the hijackers killed a woman, and was then shot to death by the security forces; subsequently, a passenger, a man, was also killed. There were therefore three fatalities, plus injuries to one hijacker and one female passenger.

The official statement said the decision to storm the plane was taken after the negotiation process reached deadlock, and when the lives of the passengers and crew were seen to be in imminent danger following the hijackers' threat to blow up the plane. The rapid operation, carried out by Saudi forces alone, aimed at saving the hostages' lives with the fewest possible losses.
The passengers released earlier from the plane were 25 Russians, 15 Turks, and two from the Republic of the Maldives.