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Indian plane hijacked on domestic flight

NEW DELHI, India (AP) _ A Boeing 737 jetliner was hijacked Wednesday night on a domestic flight from Bombay and landed in New Delhi, a private Indian television station reported.

Star News said all 54 people on board were unharmed but they remained aboard the jet, which was parked at an isolated area of Indira Gandhi International Airport. The plane was surrounded by police and commandos.

There was no word on the number of hijackers.

The TV station reported that authorities opened a communications link between the pilot and air traffic controllers.

The jet belonged to Alliance Air, a domestic subsidiary of Indian Airlines.

India has been on alert since the Sept. 11 terror attacks in the United States, in which hijackers seized jetliners and struck the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

Suspected Islamic militants exploded a car bomb near the entrance to India's disputed Kashmir state legislature on Monday, then opened fire on security forces inside, killing 40 people and wounding dozens of others. A Pakistan-based militant group, Jaish-e-Mohammed, claimed responsibility.

On Dec. 24, 1999, five hijackers seized an Indian Airlines flight carrying 178 passengers and 11 crew members after it left Nepal. The captors killed one passenger and released others early in the hijacking. The hijackers left the plane in Afghanistan with 155 hostages on board on Dec. 31 after India agreed to release three prisoners.
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