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Former FBI agents, surviving American to speak at Virginia Tech about EgyptAir Flight 648 hijacking

March 23, 2017

Kevin Foust, left, with Robert F. Clifford in 1995 when the two both worked as FBI special agents.
Kevin Foust, left, with Robert F. Clifford in 1995 in Charlotte, North Carolina, when the two both worked as FBI special agents.

The Virginia Tech community has the unique opportunity to speak with and learn from two of the nation’s former top ranking FBI special agents during a presentation on Wednesday, March 29 from 7-9 p.m. in the Alumni Hall at The Inn at Virginia Tech. Students, employees, and community members are invited to the free event.

Kevin Foust and Robert F. Clifford will present a case study about the November 1985 hijacking of EgyptAir Flight 648. Jackie Nink Pflug, one of the Americans who survived the hijacking, will be in attendance. Foust is the Virginia Tech Police Chief and Director of Security.

EgyptAir Flight 648 was a regularly scheduled international flight bound from Athens, Greece to Cairo, Egypt. On November 23, 1985, the plane was hijacked by a terrorist organization, Abu Nidal Organization, and the subsequent rescue attempt resulted in dozens of deaths, making the hijacking of Flight 648 one of the deadliest such incidents in history. Sixty-one of the 95 passengers and crew died, as did two of the three hijackers.

Pflug was shot in the head at point-blank range, rolled down a set of metal stairs and left for dead on the airport tarmac. In 2001, she published a book about her experience, "Miles to Go Before I Sleep".

“Jackie’s story is amazing, to say the least,” said Foust. “The obstacles and challenges she has overcome due to her severe brain injury are incredible. Her story is one of great inspiration.  She is one of the strongest and bravest people I have ever met.”

The lone survivor of a three-man terrorist team, Omar Mohammed Ali Rezaq, was tried in a Maltese court and sentenced to the maximum 25 years imprisonment. He was released after serving seven years and set free.

­Foust and Clifford, who were active duty FBI special agents at the time, hunted Rezaq down in Nigeria in July 1993 and transported him to the United States where he was brought before a U.S. court and sentenced to life in prison. He remains in prison today at the United States Penitentiary, Marion, a medium-security United States federal prison for male inmates in Marion, Illinois.

Following the presentation, attendees will have the opportunity to talk with Foust, Clifford, and Pflug.

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