Episode 096: Robert Clifford and Kevin Foust – Hijacking, Egypt Air Flight 648 (Part 1)

In this episode of FBI Retired Case File Review, retired agents Bob Clifford and Kevin Foust review their international terrorism investigation of the hijacking of Egypt Air Flight 648 during an international trip from Athens, Greece to Cairo, Egypt, on November 23, 1985. The plane was hijacked in Malta by members of the terrorist organization, Abu Nidal. The hijackers began systematically shooting Israeli and American passengers. A rescue attempt by Egyptian commandos 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.

Omar Mohammed Ali Rezaq was the only member of the terrorist team that survived the rescue attempt. Rezaq was tried in a Maltese court and sentenced to the maximum 25 years imprisonment, but when he was released after serving seven years, Clifford and Foust were determined to bring him to justice in a U.S. court. Clifford and Foust, via sensitive diplomatic negotiations with the leaders of several different African nations, were able to take Rezaq into custody in Lagos, Nigeria in July 1993 and transport him back to the United States to stand trial. He was sentenced to life in prison and is currently being held at the United States Penitentiary in Marion, Illinois.

Special Agent (Retired)
Robert Clifford
1/9/1989 – 6/30/2012









Retired agent Robert “Bob” Clifford served with the FBI for 24 years. He rose from FBI Special Agent to Senior Executive with responsibilities that specialized in international terrorism, counter-espionage, nuclear proliferation, and transnational criminal gangs, such as the violent MS-13. His assignments included FBI field offices, FBI Headquarters, the Iraq combat theater, and international and diplomatic postings throughout the world including US embassies, the European Union, and NATO. Bob Clifford is the recipient of numerous awards and decorations, to include FBI Director’s Award for Counterterrorism, the Director of National Intelligence Commendation Award, the Award of Excellence from the National Counterintelligence Executive, and the Bolivian National Police Medal of Merit. In 2004,  Bob Clifford received the Service to America Medal and was named Federal Employee of the Year.

Special Agent (Retired)
Kevin Foust
1/4/1987 – 4/16/2011









Retired agent Kevin Foust served 24 years with the FBI. After an initial assignment in the Jacksonville Division, where he worked mainly drug investigations, Kevin Foust received a transfer to the Washington Field Office (WFO) and eventually began working international terrorism. Soon he was named the supervisor of the International Terrorism Squad and traveled to over 25 countries investigating and supervising hijackings and bombings. Later in his career, Kevin Foust made a personal decision to leave FBI Headquarters and relocate to the Richmond Division where he was appointed as the Supervisory Senior Resident Agent of the Roanoke, Lynchburg, and Bristol offices of the FBI. During that assignment, he responded to and assisted in the investigation of the deadly mass shooting that occurred on the Virginia Tech campus in April 2007. Upon his retirement from the FBI, Kevin Foust accepted a position with the university and is currently Virginia Tech’s Chief of Police and Director of Security.

The following are links to newspaper articles and a video clip pertaining to the hijacking of Egypt Air Flight 648:

New York Times – 11/27/1985:   FROM TAKEOFF TO RAID: THE 24 HOURS OF FLIGHT 648

People Magazine:  Shot in the Head and Left to Die, a Hijack Victim Rebuilds Her Life

CNN: Declassified – Untold Stories of American Spies:  ‘I will kill a passenger every 15 minutes’

New York Times – 10/8/1996:  Terrorist Sentenced to Life in Prison for Deadly 1985 Hijacking

Kevin Foust and Bob Clifford in 1995. A year before the only surviving hijacker was sentenced to death.










During the hijacking of Egypt Air Flight 648, survivor Jackie Nink Pflug was shot in the head and left for dead. This the true story of how she recuperated from this devastating trauma.















Jerri Williams

View posts by Jerri Williams
Jerri Williams, a retired FBI agent, author and podcaster, jokes that she writes about the FBI to relive her glory days. After 26 years with the Bureau specializing in major economic fraud and corruption investigations, she calls on her professional encounters with scams and schemers to write police procedurals inspired by true crime FBI cases in her Philadelphia FBI Corruption Squad crime fiction series featuring flawed female FBI agent Kari Wheeler. Jerri’s FBI for Armchair Detectives nonfiction series enables readers to discover who the FBI is and what the FBI does by debunking misconceptions about the FBI in books, TV, and movies. Her books are available as ebooks, paperbacks, and audiobooks wherever books are sold. She’s also the host of FBI Retired Case File Review, a true crime podcast with more than 250 episodes available for free on all popular podcast apps.


  1. S.W. BuschDecember 28, 2017

    Incredible coverage of a mind bending incident. What started out as a complete and utter disaster and a virtually criminal failure from the Malta authorities and the “Rescuers”, the commendable efforts of Agents Faust and Clifford brought some justice to this tragedy. Respect and congratulations for some excellent work Gentlemen. As a former member of the Special Forces community I was appalled by such blatant mishandling of a hostage situation, the fact that more people lost their lives by the hands of the hostage rescue team than by the terrorists will sit heavy with me for some time to come. Jerri, keep em coming, I am a great fan of your podcast series!

    1. Jerri WilliamsDecember 28, 2017

      I think I actually gasped when I heard that part. I have more great case reviews coming in 2018.

  2. Jim RiceDecember 18, 2017

    Excellent overview. I had the great privilege of being at WFO and working with both of those agents and they were outstanding. Among the best agents I have ever worked with. Thanks for highlighting them and their work-great to see.
    Jim Rice. FBI-Retired 1988-2013.

    1. Jerri WilliamsDecember 18, 2017

      I was honored that they allowed me to share their story.

  3. carcan pascalDecember 15, 2017

    It is really good to put all these Special Agents in the light, for their work, congratulations to you and Mr Wedick.

    1. Jerri WilliamsDecember 16, 2017

      Thank you. I’m honored that they trusted me to share their case with the public. (By the way, Jim Wedick is a good friend whose directory I support, but he is not affiliated with my podcast or books.)


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