Monday, August 20, 2007 Hijacker Received Al Qaeda Training Hijacker Received Al Qaeda Training

ANKARA, Turkey — One of the hijackers of a Turkish plane received training at an Al Qaeda camp and wanted to be flown to Iran so he could eventually join Al Qaeda in Afghanistan, the state-run Anatolia news agency reported Monday, citing police.

Authorities didn't say at which Al Qaeda camp 33-year-old hijacker Mommen Abdul Aziz Talikh, an Egyptian of Palestinian origin, received training.

Police said Talikh, along with Mehmet Resat Ozlu of Turkey, wielded a fake bomb and claimed Al Qaeda ties when hijacking the plane early Saturday after it took off from northern Cyprus. The pair held passengers and crew hostage for more than four hours before surrendering peacefully at the Turkish Mediterranean resort Antalya, where the plane had been diverted after taking off.

Dozens of Turks have joined Al Qaeda in Afghanistan or Iraq, police have said. Suicide bombers linked to Al Qaea hit Istanbul in 2003, killing 58 people in attacks that targeted two synagogues, the British Consulate and a British bank. In February, a court sentenced seven people to life in prison for the bombings.

The two hijackers had met in northern Cyprus a year ago and were living together at the same house for a month, police said. Ozlu was registered at the literature department of a university in the breakaway Turkish Cypriot state in northern Cyprus, Anatolia said.