Which cruise ship was hijacked in the Mediterranean Sea in 1985?
The "Achille Lauro" hijacking happened on October 7, 1985, when the Italian MS "Achille Lauro" was hijacked by four men representing the Palestine Liberation Front off the coast of Egypt, as she was sailing from Alexandria to Ashdod, Israel. A 69-year-old Jewish American man in a wheelchair, Leon Klinghoffer, was murdered by the hijackers and thrown overboard.
The "Achille Lauro" embarked from Genoa, Italy, on Thursday, October 3, 1985 with 748 passengers onboard.
On Monday, October 7, 1985, four PLF militants hijacked "Achille Lauro" off Egypt. The four terrorists stormed into the ship's dining room. They shot their automatic weapons over the heads of the eating passengers. Screams from the passengers meshed with the shouting of the gunmen and with the sound of falling glass shards and splinters. Due to most of the passengers having disembarked at Cairo to tour the pyramids, only 97 remained on board when they became hostages. The terrorists demanded that the Israeli Government be contacted and given the demand that 50 Palestinians held in its jails be freed, including specifically Samir Kuntar.
The hijackers eventually surrendered and were sentenced to prison terms ranging from fifteen to thirty years. Youssef Majed Molqi (the hijacker who had shot Klinghoffer) received the longest sentences of the group.