Breaking Real World News: Turkish Airliner Hijacked

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Read up to date news of the hijack at BBC News.co.uk

From The BBC

A Turkish airliner flying from Tirana to Istanbul has been hijacked and flown to Brindisi in southern Italy in an apparent protest against the Pope.

It sent out an SOS twice in Greek airspace, and both Greece and Italy scrambled fighter jets to escort it before it landed in Brindisi.

All of the Turkish Airlines plane’s 107 passengers are said to be unhurt.

Talks are under way with the two hijackers who appear to be protesting about a planned papal visit to Turkey.

A Greek defence official who spoke to Reuters said the plane had entered Greek air space at 1758 (1458 GMT) and four Greek fighters took off to escort it.

The Italian air force in turn sent up two F-16s to intercept the plane and reportedly forced it to land.

Both hijackers are said by Turkish media to be Turks.

Candan Karlitekin, chairman of Turkish Airlines’ board of directors, said nobody had been hurt and the hijackers were apparently not threatening passengers.

“The passengers are not under any threat,” he said.

“They will surrender, they declared that they will surrender the moment they hijacked the plane.”

Asked if the hijacking was a protest against the papal visit, Mr Karliteken told Turkish TV channel NTV: “The cockpit was told that it was a protest of this nature.”

Salvatore Sciacchitano, deputy director of the Italian civil aviation authority, also said the hijackers appeared to be “not aggressive” and ready to free the passengers, AFP reports.

An Albanian passenger described bewilderment aboard the plane in a phone call to Albanian TV.

“We don’t know where we are,” the passenger said. “No-one is saying anything.”

A speech by Pope Benedict suggesting a link between Islam and violence sparked angry protests in Turkey and other mainly Muslim countries last month.

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