Image source, Getty ImagesImage caption, The plane was destroyed on the runway after the hostages had disembarked
The foreign secretary has admitted that Parliament and the public were misled for decades about a British Airways flight which landed in Kuwait during an Iraqi invasion in 1990.
The passengers and crew of BA 149 were taken hostage, with many mistreated.
Newly released files reveal that the British ambassador in Kuwait warned the Foreign Office about the invasion, but BA was not told.
The government kept the warning secret for three decades.
However, Foreign Secretary Liz Truss reiterated earlier denials that the flight was being used for a secret intelligence mission.
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For 30 years, successive governments have covered up the fact there was a warning Kuwait was being invaded before BA 149 landed in the country and that this was not passed on.
“This failure was unacceptable,” Ms Truss said in a written statement. “I apologise to the House for this, and I express my deepest sympathy to those who were detained and mistreated.”
BA 149 took off from London at 18:04 GMT on 1 August, two hours late, and was due to stop briefly in Kuwait before heading on to Asia.
But files released today to the National Archives show the British Ambassador called the resident clerk at the Foreign Office around midnight with reports that an invasion of Kuwait had begun.
This was passed to the Foreign Office Middle East department and to Downing Street, as well as MI6, the Cabinet Office and Ministry of Defence. But British Airways was not told.
The call was not publicly acknowledged or disclosed until now.
The plane landed in the early hours of the morning. Less than an hour later, the airport was closed and the passengers and crew were trapped. Many were taken hostage.
Some were mistreated, sexually assaulted and kept in near-starvation conditions before they were released that…