LIMA, PERU, JAN. 7 -- Police stormed a jetliner tonight and killed an armed rebel who had hijacked the plane with 125 people aboard and held many of them hostage, officials said.
At least two passengers were reported injured by gunfire during the seizure of the plane, the police said. It was unclear if the shots were fired by the hijacker or police.
The hijacker reportedly identified himself as a member of the pro-Cuban rebel group Tupac Amaru, the smaller of two left-wing groups battling the elected goverment. It is not affiliated with the other group, the ultraviolent Shining Path.
Police told radio and television reporters that the hijacker, who earlier had released about 40 of the passengers, all women and children, was carrying eight hand grenades and a pistol.
Police identified him as Jose Soto, about 25. Passengers said he had identified himself as a rebel fighter.
The hijacker had seized the Faucett Airlines DC-8 in the northern coastal city of Trujillo and ordered it flown to Lima's Jorge Chavez International Airport, 300 miles south, radio reports said. The flight left Trujillo at 5 p.m. and arrived in Lima about an hour later. Then police surrounded the airliner and stormed it at around 9 p.m.
Radio reports quoted released passengers as saying the kidnapper had demanded $125,000 in ransom and that the jet be refueled to fly to an undisclosed destination.
The plane was believed to be carrying about a dozen foreign tourists.