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15-10-02, 14:35
Tuesday, 15 October, 2002, 13:18 GMT 14:18 UK
Saudis 'foil plane hijack'

An armed man has been foiled in an attempt to hijack a Saudi Arabian plane, reports say.
Saudi Arabian Airlines say a lone Saudi gunman tried to take over the plane just after it had taken off from the international airport in the Sudanese capital, Khartoum.

"A passenger armed with a pistol hijacked the plane... but special forces on board the flight immediately disarmed and arrested him with help from crew," a statement issued by Saudi Arabian Airlines said.

It said there were 204 passengers and crew on board.

The plane returned to the international airport in the Sudanese capital, Khartoum.

A Sudanese official in Khartoum said the plane was then searched for explosives but nothing was found.

A BBC correspondent in the region says the Sudanese authorities will almost certainly want to establish whether the hijacker has any links to groups such as Osama Bin Laden's al-Qaeda movement.

The incident comes at a time of heightened tension in the Middle East.

Last week, a French super tanker was attacked with explosives off the coast of Yemen.

Two days later an American marine was shot and killed in Kuwait by attackers suspected of links to al-Qaeda.

Saudi hijackers

Several of those who carried out the 11 September attacks on the United States were Saudi nationals.

In October 2000 two young Saudi men hijacked a Boeing 777-200 after it left the city of Jeddah en route for London.

The Iraqi authorities ended the hijacking peacefully after the airliner landed in Baghdad.

Bron: news.bbc.co.uk