Saudi Arabian accused in 2000 hijacking arrested in Iraq

The Iraqi government has announced the arrest of a Saudi Arabian militant linked to a 2000 hijacking and more recently accused of violence in Iraq. The Interior Ministry said Ayish al-Harbi has been accused of leading a three-member criminal gang involved in the killing of police and army officers and forcing families to leave their homes in Iraq. He and the other two suspects were arrested on Dec. 17, according to the statement posted this week on the ministry Web site. Harbi was a former captain in the Saudi border guards and entered Iraq in 2000 after participating in the hijacking of a plane en route to Britain, the statement said. The plane instead landed in Baghdad, The two hijackers, who were identified at the time as Faisal al-Biloowi and Ayish al-Faridi, surrendered peacefully after hours of negotiations and the 103 passengers and crew members were unharmed.