From 1970 to 2000, there were, on average, two aircraft hijackings every month somewhere in the world, with the Mediterranean area being a particular hotbed. Most were committed to extract a ransom for political or personal ends, but it was from these fertile seedbeds that the modern idea of using a stolen aircraft as a suicide missile grew. Although hijackings are much rarer now, their consequences are disproportionately greater. The fear of hijack is ubiquitous at every level from individual passenger to nation-state, so that analysis of these earlier hijacks, which seem almost innocent now, is vital to our understanding of the motives and mechanisms of hijacks, helping us to prevent or defend ourselves against them.
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