Iraqi Airways Flight 163

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.

Iraqi Airways Flight 163
YI-AGJ (Iraqi Airways).jpg
YI-AGJ, the Iraqi Airways Boeing 737-200 involved
Date25 December 1986
SummaryHijacking, explosion in cockpit leading to crash
SiteArar Domestic Airport, Arar, Saudi Arabia
Aircraft typeBoeing 737-270C
OperatorIraqi Airways
Flight originSaddam International Airport
Baghdad, Iraq
DestinationQueen Alia International Airport
Amman, Jordan

There were 106 people on board, and 60 passengers and 3 crew members died. The pilots who survived, and 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. The crash was also one of many air crashes during those two years and the next.

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 alsoEdit


  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

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