This article may be expanded with text translated from the corresponding article in the Italian Wikipedia. (December 2008)
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The explosion and the subsequent crash killed the four operatives on board.
There are many conspiracy theories surrounding this crash. Some believe that the aircraft was used by the CIA in the Cold War conflict. According to a December 1, 1990, article in The Independent, quoted by Statewatch, "General Geraldo Serraville, head of Gladio from 1971 to 1974, told a television programme that he now thought the explosion aboard the plane Argo 16 on 23 November 1973 was probably the work of gladiatori who were refusing to hand over their clandestine arms. Until then it was widely believed the sabotage was carried out by Mossad, the Israeli foreign service, in retaliation for the pro-Libyan Italian government’s decision to expel, rather than try, five Arabs who had tried to blow up an Israeli airliner. The Arabs had been spirited out of the country on board the Argo 16." [dead link]