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15-10-02, 14:52
RIYADH (Reuters) - Saudi Arabian Airlines said on Tuesday that guards foiled a hijack attempt by a Saudi gunman aboard one of its flights from Sudan with 204 passengers and crew on board, adding no one was injured.

But Egypt's Middle East New Agency (Mena) quoted Sudanese sources as saying three Saudi hijackers were involved and that there were apparently some passengers hurt.

Saudi Arabian Airlines said in a statement carried by the official Saudi Press Agency: "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."

It said the aircraft returned to Khartoum international airport and landed safely. Sudanese authorities were interrogating the Saudi hijacker.

The airline said the gunman had tried to take control of flight 450 from Khartoum to the Saudi city of Jeddah 22 minutes after it took off with 185 passengers and 19 crew on board.

The statement gave no motive for the hijack attempt. It said the flight would resume to Saudi Arabia as soon as Sudanese authorities gave permission.

Mena agency quoted the Sudanese sources as saying Sudanese security forces arrested three Saudi hijackers on the Airbus 310.

"The three youths forced the captain to take off, then after an hour of flying forced him to return to Khartoum," Mena quoted the sources as saying. "Security authorities suppressed the incident. It appears there are some injured among the passengers."

In October 2000, two Saudi youths hijacked a Jeddah-to-London Saudi Arabian flight with 90 passengers on board to Baghdad. The hijackers said in Baghdad they were seeking rights for Saudis like decent education and health services and called for the removal of the Saudi monarchy.

15-10-02, 14:57