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Palestinian Terrorist Attack At Athens Airport

(August 5, 1973)

On August 5, 1973, two Palestinian gunmen (Senhud Muhammad and Talat Hussan), belonging to the Black September terror group, staged an assault on passengers near the TWA lounge at the Athens International Airport in Athens, Greece. There were around 1,500 people in the transit hall when the gunmen threw grenades, sparking panic. The gunmen proceeded to open fire, killing three people, including two Americans (Elbert Kersen and Jeannie Salandi), and injuring 55 (including at least 10 Americans). The terrorists then took 35 passengers hostage and held them at gunpoint for two hours before surrendering to police.

Muhammad and Hussan had targeted the TWA passengers as they were being checked before boarding a plane bound for Tel Aviv. Police said the terrorists had apparently mistaken the passengers of a New York‐bound TWA flight for one bound for Tel Aviv and were probably on a hijacking mission.

The terrorists were sentenced to death.

On February 2, 1974, three terrorists hijacked a Greek freighter at the port in Karachi, Pakistan, and threatened to blow up the ship and kill two hostages if the Greek government did not free the two Arab terrorists. The government agreed in April 1974 to commute the convicted terrorists’ sentences to life imprisonment. Later, the government pardoned them and, in May 1974, deported the men to Libya.

Sources: “1973 Athens International Airport attack,” Historica Wiki.
“Arabs Kill 3 and Wound 55 In Athens Airport Lounge,” New York Times, (August 6, 1973).
Spiros Ch. Kaminaris, “Greece and Middle East,” Middle East Review of International Affairs, Vol. 3 No. 2 (June 1999).