The Achille Lauro was seized yesterday after most of the passengers had disembarked at the Egyptian port of Alexandria for an execursion. She'd been sailing towards Port Said when the acts of piracy occurred. How and where the gunmen boarded the ship is unclear. Nor is it clear what's been happening on board since then. Some reports said the gunmen killed two American passengers—but these haven't been confirmed. It is known, however, that six Britons are on board, five dancers employed by the ship's owners, and one beautician.
Concern for their safety—and that of the other people on board—has been expressed by Mrs Thatcher. She believed the best way to help them was for people not to say too much. The hijackers have demanded that Israel release fifty Palestinians. It was reported tonight that the gunmen wanted to negotiate with the Israeli authorities. But in Israel itself, the government has restated its policy that it won't give in to terrorism.