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Report: Russian Airliner Hijacked

November 12, 2000

BAKU, Azerbaijan (AP) _ A Russian airliner on an internal flight was hijacked and ordered to fly to Israel early Sunday, but the pilot diverted the flight to Azerbaijan, officials said.

The plane with 58 people aboard landed at the Azerbaijan capital of Baku after being taken over en route from the southern Russian republic of Dagestan to Moscow, Russia’s Emergency Situations Ministry said. The hijackers had demanded to be taken to Tel Aviv, it said.

Authorities in Baku were negotiating with the hijackers, but gave no information about the identity or motive of the hijackers. Security forces took up positions at the airport as negotiations continued.

Russian security officials from Moscow headed for Baku to assist in the negotiations, the ITAR-Tass news agency reported.

The plane, a Tu-154 of Dagestan Airlines, was hijacked shortly after it took off for Moscow, officials said.

Dagestan is a Muslim region adjoining Chechnya, where the Russian military is attempting to suppress an independence revolt by Islamic nationalists. Dagestan was the scene of heavy fighting last year between Russian forces and Islamic radicals.

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