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ALGIERS TOWER DIDN’T TELL PILOT OF HIJACKING

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Algerian air traffic controllers didn't tell the crew of a French jetliner that was landing in Algiers that Muslim militants had hijacked another French plane at the airport, a pilot said Friday.

Told by security guards that his aircraft could be the next target, the Air Inter pilot said his plane discharged its passengers, then quickly took off.The pilot told French state radio that the Algiers control tower failed to tell him last Saturday about the hijacking of an Air France jet, which began while he was on a landing approach.

The Air France drama was the third hijacking this year at the Algiers airport. The four hijackers killed three passengers before they were killed by French commandos who stormed the airliner in Mar-seille.

The Air Inter pilot, who wasn't identified, said the hijacking had been under way for 30 minutes when his jet arrived at the gate "and the tower didn't tell us anything. It was French security police with Air France who said to leave as quickly as possible.

"We let off the passengers, closed the doors and took off," he told FranceInfo radio. "Ten minutes earlier I was beginning my descent. I could have turned around right away.

"Either of the two planes could have been seized on the ground at the same time, or if they missed the Air France plane they could have taken us."