RealNews

Interview: Palestinian Leila Khaled

Leila Khaled is considered the world’s first woman hijacker. She is revered by some and hated by others, but is known across the world for her daring deeds. Leila, as she is known across the Arab world, was only 4 years old during the first Arab-Israeli war in 1948. The war led to the creation of the state of Israel and also rendered her homeless. She escaped to Lebanon from her hometown, Haifa, hoping to return soon. She never was able to go back and her quest for a lost homeland set her on a path that led to being branded as a dangerous terrorist by the United States and other Western intelligence agencies. Leila’s involvement with armed Palestinian groups began when she was only 15 years old and joined the Arab Freedom Movement under the influence of her older siblings. In 1967, when Israel occupied the West Bank and Gaza Strip, she joined the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. The PFLP, a Marxist revolutionary group established in 1967, has a place on the U.S. State Department’s list of foreign terrorist organizations. The refugee became an international figure — admired in the Arab world and despised in Israel and the West — when she took part in hijacking TWA Flight 840 from Rome to Athens on Aug. 29, 1969. Full Story

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