Iraqi Airways Flight 163

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Iraqi Airways Flight 163
Iraqi Airways Boeing 737-200 KvW.jpg
An Iraqi Airways Boeing 737-200 similar to the aircraft involved.
Date 25 December 1986
Summary Hijacking, explosion in cockpit leading to crash
Site Arar, Saudi Arabia
Aircraft type Boeing 737-270C
Operator Iraqi Airways
Registration YI-AGJ
Flight origin Saddam International Airport
Baghdad, Iraq
Destination Queen Alia International Airport
Amman, Jordan
Passengers 91
Crew 15
Fatalities 63
Injuries unknown
Survivors 43

Iraqi Airways Flight 163 was a Boeing 737-270C, registered YI-AGJ, that was hijacked in 1986. On 25 December 1986, en route from Baghdad's Saddam International Airport to Amman, Jordan, Flight 163 was hijacked by four men. Iraqi Airways security personnel tried to stop the hijackers, but a hand grenade was detonated in the passenger cabin, forcing the crew to initiate an emergency descent. Another hand grenade exploded in the cockpit, causing the aircraft to crash near Arar, Saudi Arabia where it broke in two and caught fire.

There were 106 people on board, and 60 passengers and 3 crew members died. The surviving passengers were able to tell authorities what transpired on the aircraft. The hijacking was one of the deadliest ever, and was one of many in 1985 and 1986.

Shortly after the hijacking, the pro-Iranian group Islamic Jihad Organization (a widely used name for Hezbollah) claimed responsibility.[1] One of the dead hijackers was later identified by the Central Intelligence Agency as a Lebanese national named Ribal Khalil Jallul, whose passport photo was matched to a Hezbollah martyr poster found near a mosque in Beirut.[2] Iraq accused Iran of being behind the attack.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "THE WORLD; 62 Are Killed In Hijacking Of Iraqi Jetliner". The New York Times. 28 December 1986. 
  2. ^ Robert Baer, See No Evil, Three Rivers Press, 2002. p 113

External links[edit]