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American Experience; Hijacked


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American Experience
Program Number


Series Description

Premiered October 1988 As television's longest-running, most-watched history series, American Experience brings to life the incredible characters and epic stories that helped form this nation. Now in its eighteenth season, the series has produced over 180 programs and garnered every major broadcast award. Series release date: 10/1988

Program Description

For more than 30 years it would be known as "the blackest day in aviation history." On September 6, 1970, members of the militant Palestinian group, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (P.F.L.P.), hijacked four commercial airplanes. They commandeered a fifth aircraft three days later. Wanting to attract attention to the Palestinian cause and secure the release of several of their comrades, the P.F.L.P. spectacularly blew up four of the planes. Today the commanders who planned and carried out the attack resist comparison to the terrorists who masterminded the events of September 11, 2001: members of the P.F.L.P. were not religious extremists, but secular Marxist Leninists. And yet more than three decades later, it is clear that a connection exists between the two seminal events.

In telling this dramatic and complicated story, award-winning producer Ilan Ziv interviews leaders of the P.F.L.P., militants who carried out the attack, journalists who covered the hijackings, crew members and passengers. This American Experience production examines how and when Middle East militants began to see civilians as legitimate pawns in their struggles for self-determination.



Asset Type

Broadcast program

Media Type


Chicago: “American Experience; Hijacked,” 12/29/2005, WGBH Media Library & Archives, accessed October 26, 2016, http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_6564A4CE2CB444BF9BB6CFEFD11664DD.
MLA: “American Experience; Hijacked.” 12/29/2005. WGBH Media Library & Archives. Web. October 26, 2016. <http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_6564A4CE2CB444BF9BB6CFEFD11664DD>.
APA: American Experience; Hijacked. Boston, MA: WGBH Media Library & Archives. Retrieved from http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_6564A4CE2CB444BF9BB6CFEFD11664DD
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