Cruise ship crisis: The Achille Lauro
But en route to Tunisia, American fighter jets intercepted the seajackers' plane and forced it to land in Italy. Italian authorities subsequently arrested the accused terrorists. At a press conference, a steely and steadfast Ronald Reagan advises, "You can run but you can't hide."
Canadians are of mixed opinion about the American intervention as reflected in this Cross Country Checkup excerpt. Some callers applaud the Americans for taking decisive action but others criticize President Reagan's "cowboy hero" lack of diplomacy.
• In 1997, a lawsuit filed by the Klinghoffer family against the Palestine Liberation Organization was settled out of court. The PLO denied responsibility, indicating that the seajacking was executed by a renegade faction. It nonetheless agreed to pay an undisclosed sum. Ilsa and Lisa Klinghoffer used the settlement to open the Leon and Marilyn Klinghoffer Memorial Foundation of the Anti-Defamation League. The institution aims to fight terrorism through legal, political and educational avenues.
• In 1998 Abu Abbas, the alleged mastermind behind the PLF hijacking, told the Boston Globe why Klinghoffer was murdered. "He created troubles. He was handicapped but he was inciting and provoking the other passengers. So, the decision was made to kill him."
• Abu Abbas was aboard the intercepted airplane but was not arrested. Americans expressed outrage over his release. Abbas lived in Baghdad, Iraq under the protection of Saddam Hussein's government until he was captured by American forces on April 16, 2003. He died of natural causes on March 9, 2004.
• In July 1986 an Italian court convicted 11 men in the Achille Lauro terrorist attack.
• The Achille Lauro continued as a passenger ship until 1994 when it caught fire and sank off the coast of Somalia.
• In 1991, a John Adams opera titled The Death of Klinghoffer debuted in Belgium. The opera opened in the United States in the same year and was criticized for appearing sympathetic to the Palestinian terrorists. At the same time, others maintained that Leon Klinghoffer had been unfairly portrayed as the hero in an obvious Zionist plot. The Los Angeles Opera, who had co-commissioned the work, cancelled plans to mount the piece. In 2003, director Penny Woolcock adapted the opera into a film of the same name.
Program: Cross Country Checkup
Broadcast Date: Oct. 13, 1985
Host: Paul Soles
Last updated: June 24, 2013
Page consulted on December 6, 2013
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