Star-crossed voyager: The sad career of the MS Achille Lauro.

achille lauro in palermo 1965

Thirty years ago today, on October 7, 1985, four terrorists belonging to the Palestine Liberation Front hijacked the Italian passenger ship MS Achille Lauro off the Egyptian coast and held her passengers and crew hostage. The terrorists demanded the release of 50 Palestinians who were imprisoned in Israel. When Israel wouldn’t play ball, the terrorists murdered an American passenger, Leon Klinghoffer, who was not only innocent but in a wheelchair. Ultimately the Egyptian government got the terrorists to leave the ship in exchange for safe passage, but the airliner carrying them was intercepted by American warplanes and forced to land in Italy. This was one of the most high-profile acts of international terrorism in 1985, a year filled with violent terrorist incidents. Indeed over the next few years the words “Achille Lauro” became as synonymous with terrorism as the word “Entebbe.”

But the Achille Lauro was much more than…

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