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Hijacked Bulgarian Passenger Plane Lands in Norway

September 3, 1996

OSLO, Norway (AP) _ A hijacker claiming to have a bomb commandeered an airliner after departing from Lebanon on Tuesday, releasing the 150 passengers in Bulgaria and forcing the crew to take him to Norway.

Palestinian Nazir Abdullah surrendered peacefully to Norwegian police less than an hour after the plane landed at Gardermoen, an airport about 60 miles from Oslo.

``He has only made two demands. He wanted a lawyer, and he wanted political asylum,″ said Asbjorn Gran, chief of the Romerike district police, who are responsible for the airport.

Norwegian officials had said the asylum request would be considered, but Berit Fosheim of the Justice Ministry said it is ``extremely doubtful″ the request would be granted.

Abdullah released the passengers unharmed when the airliner was still at the Varna, Bulgaria, airport earlier in the afternoon.

After the plane refueled, he forced the eight-member Bulgarian crew to fly to Oslo _ threatening to detonate a bomb if his demands were refused.

When he was taken into custody, however, he said he had no bomb, Gran said. Authorities were searching the plane.

The Soviet-built Tupolev 154, operated by Bulgaria’s Hemus Air, was hijacked on a flight from Beirut to Varna.

Norway, which has had few hijackings, has adopted a hard line against sky pirates. In 1995, it extradited three Iranians who hijacked a Russian airliner to Oslo in 1993.

Last year, Norway turned over a Palestinian woman _ wanted in the 1977 hijacking of a Lufthansa airliner _ to Germany after she was found living in Oslo. Souhaila Andrawes is now on trial in Germany on charges that include the murder of the airliner’s captain.

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