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Kurds Briefly Hold Hostages in Paris Protest

September 09, 1986|United Press International

PARIS — Ten Kurds with fake grenades took eight hostages Monday at an Iraqi Airways office in central Paris, then surrendered to police after a brief protest against an Iraqi offensive in an area they call their homeland, police said. No injuries were reported.

Wearing red bandannas and waving their fists, the Kurds were escorted out of the airline offices on the fashionable Champs-Elysees and into a bus that roared away to police headquarters, a dozen police motorcycles trailing behind.

The incident lasted a little over an hour and snarled rush-hour traffic on the Champs-Elysees and in the busy intersection around the Arc de Triomphe.

Police said the 10 Kurds drove to the airline's offices just after 5 p.m. in two cars. They entered the offices, took eight hostages and threatened to detonate hand grenades.

A police spokesman said the hand grenades turned out to be copies. A suitcase the Kurds said was filled with weapons yielded only newspapers.

Police said the Kurds' only demand was that French television broadcast a statement protesting Iraq's "mistreatment of the Kurdish population."

The broadcast was never made, but the Kurds attracted enough news coverage that they seemed satisfied when they were taken away.

Kurds are a minority group fighting for autonomy in a rugged mountainous region they called Kurdistan that straddles the borders of Iraq, Turkey and Iran. They have had conflicts with all three governments.

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