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Reagans Meet Klinghoffer's Widow in N.Y.

October 26, 1985|From a Times Staff Writer

NEW YORK — In an emotional meeting, the widow of the New York man killed during the hijacking of the Achille Lauro commended President Reagan on Friday for "the courage and dignity with which you have handled the situation."

A spokesman for the Klinghoffer family said Marilyn Klinghoffer, the widow of Leon Klinghoffer, told the President that she hopes that the murderers of her 69-year-old husband would be brought to justice, "and the President did indicate that he was of a like mind."

Leon Klinghoffer, 69, who had suffered two strokes and spent much of his time in a wheelchair, was shot twice and his body thrown overboard during the hijacking of the Italian luxury liner earlier this month. Klinghoffer's body was recovered on a Syrian beach and returned to the United States for burial.

Hijackers in Custody

His accused attackers, four Palestinians, are in jail in Italy, where the government has promised the United States it will press full charges.

At one point during the meeting with President and Mrs. Reagan in the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, where the Reagans were staying during the 40th anniversary celebration of the United Nations, Marilyn Klinghoffer reached out to touch the President's hand, saying: "I'm so proud of you for making that decision."

She was referring to Reagan's order Oct. 10 to use U.S. jet fighters to intercept the EgyptAir 737 carrying the four hijackers to freedom and divert it to a joint U.S.-Italian military base in Sicily.

Reagan told her he admired the "courage you and your family have shown during this ordeal."

Mrs. Klinghoffer was accompanied at the meeting by her mother and her two daughters. She plans a news conference Monday to describe her ordeal on the Achille Lauro.

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