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Cablegate: Hijacking of Atlas Jet Flight Kkk 1011 On August 18, 2007

VZCZCXRO4775
PP RUEHDA
DE RUEHAK #2149 2321454
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 201454Z AUG 07
FM AMEMBASSY ANKARA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 3477
INFO RUEHDA/AMCONSUL ADANA 2237
RUEHIT/AMCONSUL ISTANBUL 3207
RUEHTH/AMEMBASSY ATHENS 8304
RUEHNC/AMEMBASSY NICOSIA 6677
RUEHBS/FAA BRUSSELS BE
RHMFIUU/TSA HQ WASHDC
RUEBBEA/DEPT OF TRANSPORTATION WASHDC

UNCLAS ANKARA 002149

SIPDIS

FAA BRUSSELS FOR KURT EDWARDS
ATHENS PLEASE PASS TSA FOR DAN FURLONG

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O.12356:N/A
TAGS: PTER EAIR ASEC TU
SUBJECT: HIJACKING OF ATLAS JET FLIGHT KKK 1011 ON AUGUST 18, 2007


This message is Sensitive-But-Unclassified. Please protect
accordingly.

Details As Reported
-------------------

1. (SBU) We are currently awaiting information from the GOT's
investigation of the August 18, 2007 hijacking of Atlas Jet flight
KKK 1011, which departed from Lefkosa (Northern Cyprus) en route to
Istanbul. Two students from Northern Cyprus -- Mommen Abdul Aziz
Jumah Talikh, possibly an Egyptian national (although he claims to
be Palestinian) traveling on a Syrian passport, and Mehmet Resat
Ozlu, a Turkish national traveling on a Turkish identification card
(common practice from Northern Cyprus)-- claimed to have C-4
explosives onboard the flight and demanded to be taken to Tehran or,
alternatively, Syria. The pilots did not allow them into the
cockpit and, claiming a shortage of fuel, diverted and landed in
Antalya, Turkey.

2. (SBU) Turkish media report that, once on the ground, the students
told the passengers they were protesting the U.S., claimed to be
from al Qaeda, and placed a "K" in the cockpit window indicating
this affiliation. News reports claim that Talikh was trained at an
al Qaeda camp. Reportedly, while the hijackers were allowing women
and children off of the plane, some of the remaining passengers
kicked out the back emergency door of the plane and began jumping
out of the tail. The hijackers were then left with only a few
passengers (reportedly 3) and two crew members.

3. (SBU) During the ordeal, the pilots also escaped the plane. It
is not clear whether they were instructed to by Turkish security
forces or if they did so of their own accord, but in subsequent
interviews, they claimed they were trying to protect those remaining
onboard by removing anyone who could fly the plane to another
destination. Once the hijackers determined that they had no pilots
to fly the plane and that the plane was inoperable because the back
door had been kicked out, they surrendered to Turkish Security
Forces and were taken into custody. The hijacking lasted
approximately five hours.

GOT Investigation
-----------------

4. (SBU) The GOT is continuing its investigation of the event and
has shared few details with us. However, an official from the
Ministry of Transportation's Civil Aviation Directorate General
(DGCA) told us that the pilots followed proper procedure by
diverting the plane to the nearest airport once the hijackers
claimed to have explosives onboard. Turkish National Police (TNP)
ordinance detection officials on the ground in Antalya confirmed
that no explosives or weapons of any kind were found on the plane.

Flight Manifest
---------------

5. (SBU) We confirmed that dual Canadian-U.S. national Soraya
Belhachemi, DPOB 25 July 1991, Stillwater, Oklahoma, was traveling
with her parents on this flight, but all three were traveling on
Canadian passports. She and her family were met in Istanbul by
Canadian consular staff from Ankara and continued their travel back
to the UAE.

6. (SBU) In such situations, the GOT generally refuses to release
flight manifests to third-countries who cannot confirm that their
nationals are onboard the hijacked plane. Upon notification from
the Operations Center that a U.S. citizen might be onboard, we
immediately requested the manifest from several GOT sources,
including the MFA, who refused to provide it to us unless we could
confirm the name on the manifest. We plan to meet with relevant
Turkish authorities in the coming days to discuss this problem with
them, so that we can ensure access to the manifest during such a
situation to check against U.S. databases.

7. (SBU) We will provide additional information from the
investigation as we receive it. Point of contact is Civil Aviation
Officer, Rebecca Kimbrell, kimbrellrj@state.gov, or
+90-312-457-7071.

MCELDOWNEY

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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