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Turkish commandos end ferry hijacking

Turkish commandos have shot dead a lone hijacker who seized a passenger ferry off the coast in the country's north-west.

Turkey ferry 2011 11 11Enlarge
A domestic ferry travels among fog on the Bosphorus in Istanbul on Nov. 21, 2010. (MUSTAFA OZER/AFP/Getty Images)

Turkish commandos have shot dead a lone hijacker who seized a passenger ferry off the coast in the country's north-west.

All 24 passengers and crew were rescued in the operation, which ended a 12-hour siege off the coast of Silivri, on the outskirts of Istanbul, Al Jazeera reported.

Istanbul governor Huseyin Avni Mutlu announced on Saturday:

"From 5:45 this morning, security forces as part of a joint operation successfully completed their mission and the hijacker has been taken dead. It was clear that the assailant was a terror group member."

The ferry, named Kartepe, was hijacked as it traveled in the Gulf of Izmit, which is 60 miles east of Istanbul.

The hijacker, who is thought to have belonged to the banned Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) had claimed to be carrying a bomb.

He was about 30 years old, and was reportedly carrying a device with a button and cables, the BBC reported. It is being analyzed by bomb disposal experts.

The ship's captain had been allowed to give an interview with a local news channel, in which he said their had been several hijackers, and that they threatened to detonate explosives if attempts were made to intercept the ferry.

Turkish transport minister Binali Yildirim earlier said the hijacker had not made any concrete demands, but had asked for food and drink.

Some had speculated that the ferry was to be taken to Imrali island, in the Sea of Marmara, where former PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan has been in jail since 1999, the BBC reported.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/europe/turkey/111111/turkey-ferry-hijacked-gulf-izmit