Hijacking in the Mediterranean – The Five Cases of Malta
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Gozitan author, Charles Daniel Saliba, has released his latest book, ‘Hijacking in the Mediterranean. The Five Cases of Malta.’ The book is printed by BDL Publishing and is in Hardcover format with a total of 168 pages.
From 1970 to 2000, there were, on average, two aircraft hijackings every month somewhere in the world, with the Mediterranean area being a particular hotbed. Most were committed to extract a ransom for political or personal ends, but it was from these fertile seedbeds that the modern idea of using a stolen aircraft as a suicide missile grew. Although hijackings are much rarer now, their consequences are disproportionately greater. The fear of hijack is ubiquitous at every level from individual passenger to nation-state, so that analysis of these earlier hijacks, which seem almost innocent now, is vital to our understanding of the motives and mechanisms of hijacks, helping us to prevent or defend ourselves against them.
This book supplies this analysis by concentrating on five hijacked aircraft, all of which landed at Malta’s Luqa International Airport, right at the heart of the Mediterranean. They were:
* Flight KL 861, Amsterdam -Tokyo, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, 25 November 1973
* Flight LN 642, Houn -Tripoli, Libyan Arab Airlines, 16 October 1979
* Flight LN 484, Sebha -Tripoli, Libyan Arab Airlines, 20 February 1983
* Flight MS 648, Athens -Cairo, EgyptAir, 23 November 1985
* Flight KM 830, Malta – Istanbul, Air Malta, 10 June 1997
The original aim was to find out why certain areas in and around the Mediterranean are more prone to hijacking than others, but on researching the thousands of words written and spoken about these hijacks, the author found that most accounts were either false or incomplete, so made it his first object to discover and reveal the truth, using published sources, oral interviews, contemporary newspapers, reports, television programmes, discussions with security experts, police reports, procès-verbaux, court reports from experts, press releases and official correspondence.
Armed with this knowledge, he set out to prove that security and stability in the Mediterranean, and thus in Europe, cannot be achieved unless regional security problems are addressed.
There is an accurate account of each hijack from peaceful takeoff right through to the end of the drama, and each is analysed in the light of the contemporary regional problems that motivated the hijackers. The author also reflects on the changes in the Mediterranean region that have led to the fall in the number of hijackings.
There is an extra thread running through the book on the extraordinary accomplishment of Dom Mintoff, Prime Minister of the newly independent Malta, who personally negotiated the successful conclusions of three of the five hijacks with no loss of life at all.