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Iraq Grants Asylum to Hijackers

November 6, 2000

DOHA, Qatar (AP) _ Iraq has granted asylum to two Saudis who hijacked a London-bound Saudi plane last month and surrendered in Baghdad, Iraqi Foreign Minister Mohammed Saeed al-Sahaf said Monday.

Al-Sahaf, on a visit to Qatar to discuss the upcoming meeting of the Organization of Islamic Conference to be held in Doha, said the hijackers were given asylum upon their request.

Iraq had said the two hijackers demanded asylum. But, in a news conference at the Baghdad airport a day after the incident, the hijackers denied asking for asylum and said they eventually would like to leave Iraq.

The Boeing 777 was hijacked Oct. 14 after taking off from Jiddah, Saudi Arabia. The plane eventually landed in Baghdad, where the two men, identified by Saudi officials as Faisal al-Biloowi and Ayish al-Faridi, surrendered peacefully after hours of negotiations.

The 103 passengers and crew members were unharmed.

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