Plane hijack foiled in Cuba, one military hostage dead
May 4, 2007 - 9:25:31 AM

Havana, May 4 - An airplane hijacking attempt was foiled in Havana, with one military hostage dead after the kidnappers and the airport's security forces exchanged fire, the Cuban interior ministry said.

The two kidnappers, new soldiers who had run away from their army base, hijacked a bus with several passengers before dawn Thursday and took it to the domestic terminal of Havana airport.

They and the hostages then boarded an empty passenger plane destined to take off for Miami, the US.

While in the plane, the kidnappers killed one of the hostages, an army lieutenant colonel who tried to stop the hijacking. However, they were soon arrested by a military unit after exchanging fire.

The two soldiers had been on the run since they escaped from their posts Sunday with weapons. They shot dead a soldier and wounded another while trying to escape.

Cuba blamed the attempted hijacking on the US policy of encouraging Cubans to flee to the US, where most of them will get automatic residency.

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