Capturing terrorists aircraft
Capturing terrorists aircraft

Hijacking by terrorists. Algeria 1994.


            Christmas Eve 1994 of the year. Aircraft company "Air France"Algeria was approaching airport. It was a morning flight from Paris to the former French colony, located in the north of Africa. He served Airbus A300 with a crew of 12. They had an unusual landing, because in Algeria civil war. Even near the airport fierce fighting.


Waitress: Because of the terrorist threat in Algeria flew only volunteers. We deliberately took risks.


            The captain of the aircraft performing the 8969 flight was Bernard Dellemm - an experienced pilot. The plane was not supposed to linger in Algeria. It was expected that it will refuel and take on board passengers who fly to France. Most of the passengers were Algerians, however, there were also many French who did not want to stay in an African country.


Air France animation


            Three years earlier, Islamic fundamentalists had won the elections in Algeria, hoping to create an Islamic state. But later the authorities seized power and arrested their leader. Since then, chaos reigned in Algeria.


            When the landing has ended, suddenly armed men on board went. They introduced themselves as police officers, and said it would be made an additional verification of documents.


Stewardess: These people were armed to the teeth. This was unusual.


            Delayed flight 8969 has caused suspicion among the military. They sent Algerian special forces to the aircraft in several cars. When one of the so-called police officers saw the approaching cars, he shouted: “infidels!”. All passengers immediately realized that armed people were terrorists.


            People seized the plane said they were Muslim extremists. They also said that all costs were ready to make Algeria an Islamic state. Capturing terrorists aircraft It was part of the plan. Extremists have acted decisively and were ready to blow up the plane. Their leader was a famous assassin 25 years. The news of the seizure of the aircraft spread rapidly, and in Algeria gathered reporters. French Prime Minister broke off his Christmas vacation. It was an international crisis. Below you can see information about the the seizure of the aircraft. Video.

Capture video and Aircraft


            At this time, the terrorists took the form from the crew and dressed in it to mislead the snipers. They also ordered all the women on the plane to cover their heads.


Passenger: violate Islamic customs. On the plane, men and women have one toilet, sat across from each other. And most importantly, the women sat with their heads uncovered. This led to the terrorist leader rage.


            Two hours after hijacking terrorists said they want to talk to the Algerian military. They said they intend to fly to Paris and hold a press conference there. However, the plane could not budge. A passenger ladder was brought to it. Also, the police blocked the runway cars. The invaders demanded to immediately release the runway, but were immediately refused. The position of the Algerians was unequivocal: no concessions. Nevertheless, it was a dangerous position, and soon the authorities were convinced of this. 


            The terrorists were going to convey a message to the authorities of Algeria. Looking through their passports, they found an Algerian policeman among the passengers. They raised him, led him to the open door of the plane, and shot him in the head. So the terrorists designated the seriousness of their intentions.


Captain: The first one they let in the cockpit, was a flight attendant. She offered us water. She also whispered in my ear: "They killed a passenger." I was shocked.


            Passengers of the plane saw Algerian special forces in the portholes. They were very afraid that they would go on the assault. The French interior minister knew how the Algerian special forces were operating.


Capture video and Aircraft


Minister: Algerian special forces prepared us. It was risky to leave the airplane in Algeria. We know that the Algerians are able to take a plane by storm. However, we knew that would be a lot of blood spilled.


             The Algerian military was still determined. But the terrorists also raised the stakes. They chose from among the passengers a typical foreigner. The choice fell on the Vietnamese 48. He was a diplomat, an employee of the Vietnamese embassy in Algeria. Invaders ruthlessly killed him and threw the body out of the plane. 


Captain: The stewardess came back to our cabin with water. Pouring it into glasses, she whispered that killed a second passenger. Then I realized that the situation is very serious.


            The situation remained stalemate. Neither side wanted to give in. Meanwhile, anxious French leaders conferred in Paris. They believed that their special forces were able to neutralize terrorists. But the Algerians refused to let the foreign military into the country to solve their problems. 


The Prime Minister: I bluntly asked the Algerian authorities to allow the plane to fly to Paris. After all, it was a French plane, which belonged to "Air France". Although most of the passengers were Algerians, there were dozens of French. That is why the problems have been solved, we have to.


Capture of the aircraft in Algeria


            It was getting dark. Airplane "Air France" was illuminated by searchlights. His passengers already 7 hours were held hostage. The panic of the first minutes was replaced by intense calm. Not everyone knew that two passengers were killed. The crew did their best to resolve the situation.


Captain: In such situations, the crew must remain calm. It was necessary to look for an approach to these people. Capturing terrorists aircraft always goes aggressively. But then it is important to gain time and to appease these people.


            As a result of long negotiations was released 63 person. These were some of the women and children. But Algerian authorities still did not release the aircraft. About two o'clock in the morning for the first time the captain was able to go to the salon. He saw that the two terrorists were sleeping. One remained in the cockpit. One kept watch at the tail of the aircraft.


Capture of the aircraft in Algeria 2


            It is morning. Over the past night there have been some events. The French government decided to send its special forces as close as possible to Algeria. They are located on the island of Mallorca.


SWAT commander GIGN: It was decided to transfer us to Mallorca. At our disposal we were given a plane "Air France". Exactly what was captured by terrorists. We also consulted an experienced flight crew, who knew perfectly the plane Airbus A300.


            On the way to Mallorca, French special forces carefully examined the aircraft in case they had to take it by storm. The Algerian authorities also did not sit with folded arms. They identified the leader of the terrorists. They brought his mother to the airport, trying to influence him. However, the tactics of the Algerians only angered the terrorist. Yahya was enraged. He took a passenger from among the French and killed him. Also, the invaders said that if the authorities are inactive, they will continue to kill. Threats to take effect, and the Algerian authorities have conceded. After hours of waiting flight 39 8969 was given the nod to rise.


Stewardess: We are very glad that fly away from Algeria. It seemed that now will save us. (Capture of the aircraft in Algeria)


            However, there was a problem. All this time, an auxiliary power unit operated in the tail section, supplying electricity to the aircraft. She consumed 4 tons of fuel per day. Fuel to Paris would not be enough. Only Marseille, located on the southern coast of France.


            Like the passengers, the crew hoped the worst was over. On December 6 at 3:30 the plane approached the Marseille airport. No one on board knew that the French special forces had already flown there from Mallorca and were preparing a decisive blow.


SWAT commander GIGNUsually, we come to the territory occupied by the enemy. But this time, the enemy invaded the territory that was under our control. This was the key to success.


            For terrorists, landing in France was a very important moment. They hoped to refuel, take food and fly farther to Paris. At Marseille airport it was very dark. The plane deliberately put on the edge of the airfield. At this time, the authorities received disturbing information.


The Prime Minister: We have learned that the terrorists wanted to use aircraft to attack Paris. Information conveyed a reliable source, and we accepted it seriously. So we decided: the aircraft under any circumstances should not fly out of Marseille. We put the plane in a convenient place for us and began to play for time.


            French Special Forces decided to take the enemy into submission. They knew that the terrorists are already tired, so in every way delay the negotiations. The hijackers demanded that the plane fill in 27 tons of fuel. However, to reach needed to Paris just 9 tons. Data that want to use the aircraft as a firebomb only confirmed.


            The terrorists wanted to immediately fly to Paris to hold a press conference there. The authorities responded that they didn’t need to go anywhere. All foreign press has already gathered in Marseilles. Over time, the terrorists agreed to hold a press conference on board the aircraft, not knowing that this was part of a cunning plan.


SWAT commander GIGN: This press conference was important because it allows you to move some passengers in the tail section of the aircraft.


            Negotiators asked for a press conference to release the front cabin. In fact, they wanted to create the free space that the special forces needed during the assault. The terrorists did not know that the aircraft door can be opened from the outside.


            The plane was at the Marseille airport already 12 hours. SWAT knew how many terrorists were on the plane and where they were. They were just waiting for the sun to take advantage of the darkness. The invaders did not know about this, and waited for the press. When the terrorists realized that there would be no press, they became enraged. They ordered to overtake the plane directly under the terminal building. Thus, the plans of the French special forces were violated.


Capturing terrorists aircraft


SWAT commander GIGN: The situation greatly complicated. We are prepared to storm the aircraft, standing in a certain place. But suddenly it was distilled in another. I had to change the plan quickly.


            The terrorists were angry. They ordered the plane to refuel to 17: 00. After that, they threatened to blow up the plane. At that time, the major commanding the special forces was sending his men to new positions. They had very little time to capture the aircraft.


SWAT commander GIGN: The plan was this: 3 30 ladder and man. Two groups of 11 people have entered the plane through the two rear doors. Then, through the front door on the right it was to break even 8 soldiers to capture cockpit.


            The authorities did not intend to release the plane from the airport. Although it was already 17: 00, no one ran the plane. The terrorists did not know what to do. They wanted to kill another hostage, but then changed their minds. Instead, the invaders through the open door started to conduct shooting indiscriminately at the airport.


Eyewitness: One of the terrorists opened the cockpit window and began shooting at the control tower. Shards of glass flew at us. We were under a hail of bullets. French Prime Minister gave Major Favier, who commanded the special forces, full of blank check. SWAT decided to act immediately. 


SWAT commander GIGNWhen the terrorists began shooting, there was a very dangerous situation. We have grounds for an armed assault. We used self-propelled passenger stairs.


            Seeing the approaching cars, everyone in the plane realized that the assault had begun. The special forces managed to open the doors of the aircraft. Immediately three groups of soldiers broke into the inside. Then a fierce exchange of fire began. The terrorists shot at anyone who appeared on the plane. Inside, bullets whistled and grenades exploded. Snipers saw terrorists in the cockpit, however, they could not shoot as the co-pilot was in the line of fire. A few minutes later the second pilot took advantage of the confusion and terrorists jumped out of the cab window. He fell to the concrete and limping fled to a safe place. Snipers immediately jumped at the chance, and riot police started to storm the cockpit. At this time, from the rear of the aircraft passengers evacuated. The last terrorist in the cockpit shot back almost 20 minutes. Surprisingly, he did not harm the captain and flight engineer. In the end he was killed. Firefight lasted for a long time. It was released hundreds of bullets and dozens of grenades detonated. Fortunately, all the passengers and crew survived canoes.


The Prime Minister: On the carriage lay a special responsibility. They needed to rescue the hostages and the aircraft. I can say that they showed themselves from the best side.


            From 30 9 special forces soldiers were wounded. But, in general, the operation was successful. From 161 passenger only a few minor injuries. All can sigh with relief.


            For their courage, all French special forces and crew members received high awards. To summarize, we can say that it was a model anti-terrorist operation. However, those who survived will never forget what they had to go through. 

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