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Wed, Oct 25, 2006

Czechs Say Three Arabs Attempted Airline Hijack

Government Report Believes Attempt Was Test Of Cockpit Security

Are Arab Muslim terrorists still considering hijacking airliners? That seems to be the conclusion of the Czech counter-intelligence service (BIS) who has just released its annual report on terrorism in the Czech Republic.

Reuters reports that while the attempted hijacking incident was limited to a single paragraph in the report, it says three Egyptian men tried to break into the cockpit of a Czech Airlines plane last year on a flight from Oslo to Prague.

"They did not use any violence, the stewards stopped them and they made an excuse that they were looking for a stewardess and that they wanted to buy chewing gum," a BIS spokesman said.

Not getting their chewing gum, the suspected terrorists also didn't get to stay in the country and were immediately deported to Egypt.

The Czech Republic has a small military unit in Afghanistan and a few police advisors in Iraq, but until now, the country has not been targeted by Muslim extremists.

Reuters continues that the security agency said it suspected the attempted break-in might have been a test of cockpit security and that Muslim terrorists may have been planning a hijacking during the Jewish High Holy Days from September 23 through October 15.

Prague has a small Jewish population, principally centered in the historic Jewish quarter that is just a tiny fraction of what was once a vibrant community before being virtually wiped out by the Nazis in WWII.

It is believed by some terrorism analysts that crashing an airliner into Jewish landmarks or symbols of the "decadent West" is still very much a priority for some Muslim terrorist groups.



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