Hijacking refers to the illegal seizure of an aircraft, ship or vehicle in transit in order to send it to another destination, frequently with the intention of taking passengers hostage. The tactic is effective in the sense that it draws widespread attention and, through hostage taking, establishes a bargaining chip for hijackers seeking to fulfill specific demands.
Aircraft hijacking (or skyjacking, as it is also known) was first used as a terrorist tactic on planes traveling between the United States and Cuba in the 1960s.
The first widely noted instance of hijacking by guerrillas or terrorists seeking to draw international attention was the seizure of an Israeli El Al aircraft in July 1968. Hijackers from the Palestinian Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) seeking to draw attention to their cause diverted a flight originating in Rome to land in Algeria.
The hijacking of four American planes by Al Qaeda on September 11, 2001, was the first instance of hijacking for the purposes of a suicide attack.
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