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Kadafi Denial of Hijacking Role Reported

September 06, 1986|Associated Press

HARARE, Zimbabwe — Libyan leader Moammar Kadafi told the leaders of India and Pakistan on Friday that his country was not responsible for the hijacking of a Pan American World Airways jumbo jet by Arab gunmen in Pakistan, officials said.

Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and Pakistani President Zia ul-Haq met separately with Kadafi in Harare, where the leaders of the 101-nation Nonaligned Movement are meeting.

Zia described the hijacking in Karachi as "international gangsterism."

Indian officials declined to say if Gandhi, who met Kadafi in a room at the conference center, had accused him of responsibility for the hijacking. Many of the passengers were Indians.

"But it certainly came up," said one Indian source, "and Kadafi denied he was responsible."

Gandhi condemned the hijacking, saying in a statement: "My heart goes out to the bereaved families in this terrible act of terrorism. They are the innocent victims of mindless violence and its consequences."

In his meeting with Zia, Kadafi also disclaimed responsibility, said a member of the Pakistan delegation.

The jumbo jet was seized Friday morning as it stopped in Karachi on a flight from Bombay, India, en route to New York via Frankfurt, West Germany.

As Kadafi was being questioned by the Indian and Pakistani leaders, the Nonaligned Movement's political committee agreed to a Libyan demand to condemn the April 15 U.S. bombing of Libya as "state terrorism," conference sources said.

That raid was staged in retaliation for Libya's alleged involvement in the bombing of a disco in West Berlin in which an American serviceman and a Turkish woman were killed. A second U.S. serviceman died later.

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