Sunday, November 30, 2008

Egyptian X-File: Egypt Air Flight 648

I do not know if I am right to consider it an Egyptian X-File or not but I noticed that no one in our media wants to remember the Egypt Air Flight 648 !! May be because rescue operation of our commandos 777 Unit was  fiasco and is considered one from the worst rescue missions ever. We do not like to remember our fiascos despite we can learn from them. 56 of 88 passengers were killed on the 27th November 1985. They were from Egypt,Greece,Israel,America and even Mexico who did not think for one second that their flight no.648 on Egypt Air would end like this.

I only found out about it in the Wikipedia last week. My mother does not recall it l just like all members of my family , they remember the Larnaca international airport incident very well , of course it can’t be forgotten easily after the murder of Romanticism knight/Novelist Youssef El-Sabei not to mention Al Sadat comments.

I think the X in this file goes to many facts here:

1- The terrorist group of Abu Nidal : many security experts in the Arab World and in the west including the famous Patrick Seale believe that Abu Nidal was a double agent working for the Mossad not as you think. Also it was mentioned that the terrorists at first called themselves “The Revolution of Egypt” , Were they related to “the Revolution of Egypt we had at that time ??

Already there was a movement called “Revolution of Egypt” that was targeting Israelis at the same time in Egypt , I do not want to go in more details about it because this is another X-File people love not to speak about.

2-The Maltese government never issued a comprehensive report about the incident makes more strange , despite it think about the Maltese government does not want to embarrass itself.Malta has till now good relations with Libya. Libya is suspected till now to be behind this operation.

3-I can’t find anything about the real demands of the hijackers, all what I can find is the terrible rescue operation that went wrong . May be it was a revenge operation from Mubarak after what happened earlier that year in the infamous Achille Lauro ,yup the only moment Mubarak reached to the time magazine cover was during that crisis. Or it was our mad neighbour in the west according to the official story ???

Most people including President Mubarak accused of Libya and Al Gaddafi of being behind this operation , it was his hobby to send Abu Nidal and others to hijack the airplanes for no good reasons. There was no confirmation especially that Libya refused to let the hijackers to land and get fuel , it will be an easy target to the Egyptian forces.  Mubarak in his press conference on the 25th of November 1985 indirectly accused Libya of Standing behind the hijack. According to Mubarak the Libyan FM then did not return any of our calls. I assume that our Embassy was not re-opened yet. Libya and Egypt suffered a period of bad relations thanks to the mad temper of Al Gaddafi. It reached to the level of a short military confrontation in late 1970s.Already during that crisis our troops were sent to the borders.

4-The Mubarak’s statement is an (x) itself with the details in it ,believe it or not this may be the first  speech or statement I read it for Mubarak several times completely because it is from the few sources “despite being bias” with full details about the incident from the beginning till the end.

According to him our 6 commandos “with my all respect ,admiration and love to them” only shot 6 bolts from their guns !! They did not throw any phosphoric bombs “I believe this point” but the hijackers did  on our troopers that suffered bad injuries.”Still they used explosives they should not have used” .Mubarak said that our trooper came form 3 entries.Guns+Phosphoric bombs+explosives = total disaster to the body of airplane and the passengers.

There are several questions should be answered , may be then were not like today.

The  U.S officially supported us and our decision. Already The United States was going to send a special force but it would take too much time to arrive to Malta especially after a message Cairo received from Captain Hany Galal from airplane

Help Us !! They are going to kill us all now !!

Malta refused to refuel the airplane with fuel according to its laws. At first they told the hijackers they should let the women and children free , the hijackers only let 11 then they started threatening that they would kill a person every half an hour and they already did .Captain Galal had no option. Another thing there were two American experts with 777 commandos  !!

For the historical record , Mubarak changed the commander of the 777 unit after that mission.

The Western sources blamed us and Mubarak blamed the terrorists. For sure we had our mistakes in this rescue but I do not rule out the terrorists of Abu Nidal.

The survivals of course spoke to the media, mostly the western media. Without any knowledge I know what was mentioned in our media on behalf of our Egyptian survivors.

Mrs. Jackie Pflug is from the famous survivors of the flight , she wrote a book about her unforgettable experience called “Miles to Go Before I Sleep” this woman who used to be a teacher in Egypt was shot down at point blank, she survived the attack and wrote about the experience that changed her life completely

This is the only documentary I have found about it , unfortunately it is not Arabic nor in English but it is a Maltese.Yes this is Maltese which is a descended of the Arabic “did not know that before” It is based on Jackie’s testimony still it includes very rare and shocking footage.

Surely most of the passengers were killed and surely we had our mistakes but forgetting this is wrong .After reading this sad file I understand why Germany and Italy refused that our commandos would release the hostages in Sudan ,we had a bad history Larnaca then Malta :(

Mubarak in his first 5 years faced international challenges I think that affected his decision making after that. To tell you the truth I do not think that he has the ability of Nasser or Sadat of acting in time of crisis as it should.

Links and sources :


  1. Pls i want to read more about that . Pls send anything related on my mail

  2. I hope you have access to this website. It's a show on the Biography channel called "I Survived." It has the story of the hijacking on this episode.

  3. I know most of the egyptian commandos in both of the following operations
    Malta Egypt Air Flight 648
    Cyprus Larnaca Airport
    if you would like I can send you them contacts to communicate with them
    Mohammad rashad one of "Group 73 Historian" members

  4. Zenobia, you have thrown light into an incident the world has forgotten. It was surely a brutal incident and I wonder why people do not try and learn from such incidents. Thank you for sharing this blog and reminding us some forgotten pages of history.


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