Back in 1982 Israeli forces had invaded Lebanon, in part to support a Christian militia known as the South Lebanon Army. However, Hezbollah, supported by Iran, had fought back, a conflict that had further complicated an already complex and bloody civil war. In the midst of all this chaos, the two hijackers boarded Flight 847.
According to witnesses, the hijackers’ first action was to identify all those on board with names that sounded Jewish. In light of Hezbollah’s war with Israel, such passengers would have had particular value. Then, the hijackers announced their first demand.