Middle East Locked in a Holding Pattern

For Egypt and Malta, the hijacking remains a messy mystery

The immediate effect of the storming of EgyptAir Flight 648 by Egyptian commandos in Malta on Nov. 24 was the death of 57 passengers and crewmen, along with two of the plane's hijackers. Among the delayed effects: more confusion and embarrassment for the Egyptian and Maltese governments over exactly what had happened.

In Cairo last week the government of President Mubarak was questioned about certain aspects of the affair. The semiofficial newspaper al Ahram accused the country's state-controlled television of "presenting untruths" about the "success" of the rescue mission. Opposition critics charged that Mubarak had played into the hands of the...

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