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Russian Plane Hijacked in Turkey

March 15, 2001

ISTANBUL, Turkey (AP) _ A Russian plane carrying 162 passengers was hijacked Thursday by two unidentified men after takeoff from Istanbul’s airport, the Anatolia news agency reported.

Private television NTV said the plane, on a scheduled flight from Istanbul to Moscow, was apparently headed to Cairo.

Anatolia said the Tupolev-156 plane took off at 1:30 p.m. (6:30 a.m. EST) from Istanbul’s Ataturk International airport. The two hijackers took control 30 minutes later, Anatolia said.

NTV television said the plane was still flying over Turkey and heading southeast.

This is the fifth hijacking from a Turkish airport since 1998. The last was in 1999, when a hijacker armed with a knife commandeered a Cairo-bound flight shortly after takeoff from Istanbul. He surrendered to German police after the plane landed in Hamburg, Germany.

In October 1998, soldiers stormed a commandeered plane in the capital, Ankara, and shot and killed the hijacker.

Update hourly