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Thursday, 14 September, 2000, 16:22 GMT 17:22 UK
Hijack drama ends safely

More than one hundred and forty people are reported to have escaped unharmed after an Iraqi national hijacked a plane en route from Qatar to Jordan.

The Qatar Airways Airbus, carrying 133 passengers and 11 crew, had taken off from the Qatari capital, Doha, and was said to be preparing its descent to the Jordanian capital, Amman, when the drama began.

Qatar's Al-Jazeera satellite television said the hijacker, an Iraqi national, was brandishing a knife and forced the pilot to divert to Saudi Arabia.

The plane touched down at Ha'il airport, north of the Saudi capital, Riyadh.

Hijacker surrenders

A passenger told Al-Jazeera television that the plane circled Ha'il airport for 25 to 30 minutes before being given permission to land.

"Senior Saudi security officials came on board and the hijacker gave himself up and took him away", the passenger added.

It is not clear why the man hijacked the plane, which was said to be carrying passengers from a number of Middle East states.

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