Incident Summary:

01/23/2001: Mohammed Yehia Ali Sattar, armed with a gun and a grenade, hijacked a Yemini aircraft that had departed from Sanaa, Yemen en route to Taizz. The plane was carrying 91 passengers, including Barbara Bodine, the United States Ambassador to Yemen. The hijacker intended to demonstrate support for Saddam Hussein by flying to Baghdad International Airport. Members of the crew were able to subdue the hijacker when the plane landed in Djibouti for refueling. The hijacker and a flight engineer were injured during the hijacking.




Middle East & North Africa

region/u.s. state:

Amanat Al Asimah


Location Details:
The hijacking occurred on a flight that departed from Sanaa and was originally destined for Taizz. However the flight was redirected to Djibouti for refuelling where it was overpowered before reaching the hijacker's intended destination of Baghdad International Airport.

Attack Information
Type of Attack (more) Hijacking
Successful Attack? (more) Yes
Target Information (more)
Target Type: Airports and Aircraft
Name of Entity Yemen Airways
Specific Description Yemen Airways airplane
Nationality of Target Yemen
Target Type: Government (Diplomatic)
Name of Entity U.S. Department of State
Specific Description U.S. Ambassador to Yemen, Barbara Bodine
Nationality of Target United States
Additional Information
Hostages Yes
Number of Hostages 91
US Hostages 4
Outcome Hostage(s) escaped (not during rescue attempt)
Ransom No
Property Damage No
Weapon Information
Type Sub-type
Firearms Handgun
Explosives Unknown Explosive Type
Weapon Details
The attacker used a pistol that was shaped like a pen. He also carried a bag that he said was filled with explosives.
Additional Information
Suicide Attack?No
Part of Multiple Incident?No
Criterion 1 (more) Yes
Criterion 2 (more) Yes
Criterion 3 (more) Yes
Doubt Terrorism Proper (more) No
Additional Information All passengers were released when the Yemeni crew overpowered the hijacker while the airplane was refueling in Djibouti. Mohammed Yehia Ali Sattar attempted to divert the airplane to Baghdad International Airport in Iraq. The Yemen Airlines pilot convinced the attacker that the airplane needed to refuel in Djibouti before going to Iraq, where he was subdued.
Perpetrator Group Information
Group Name Claimed Responsibility
Supporters of Saddam Hussein Yes (Confirmed: Unknown; Mode: Personal claim)
Perpetrator Statistics
Number of Perpetrators 1
Number of Captured Perpetrators 1
Casualty Information
Total Number of Casualties 0 Fatalities / 2 Injured
Total Number of Fatalities 0
Number of U.S. Fatalities 0
Number of Perpetrator Fatalities 0
Total Number of Injured 2
Number of U.S. Injured 0
Number of Perpetrators Injured 1
“Eight Detained for Questioning in Yemenia Hijacking,” The Associated Press, January 25, 2001.
“Hijacker Foiled; U.S. Envoy Aboard; Yemeni Jet Crew Speaks English, Tricks Gunman,” Chicago Tribune, January 24, 2001.
“Envoy to Yemen Escapes Hijack,” The Commercial Appeal, January 24, 2001.