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Zagreb - A Croatian nationalist convicted in the US for the 1976 hijacking of an airliner and who only returned home five years ago after being paroled has committed suicide, police said on Monday.
Zvonko Busic, 67, shot himself at his family home in Rovanjska, near the central coastal town of Zadar on Sunday, a police spokesman said.
He added that it was still unclear why Busic, who returned to Croatia in 2008 after serving 32 years of a life sentence in the United States, had taken his own life.
Busic had been sentenced in 1977 for air piracy.
He led a group of five who hijacked a TWA plane and also planted a bomb in a locker at New York's Grand Central railway station.
The plane was flying from New York to Chicago with 76 passengers onboard. The group hoped to draw attention to what they saw as the Yugoslavian communist regime's repression of pro-independence Croatians.
They forced the pilots first to fly the plane to Montreal, then London and Paris, where police eventually persuaded them to surrender.
However, back in New York, a policeman was killed as he tried to defuse the bomb at Grand Central.
Four other convicts, including his wife, were released after serving their sentences. As a condition of his parole Busic was barred from ever entering the US again.
In his homeland, some considered Busic a hero of the country's struggle to secede from Yugoslavia, while others deemed him terrorist. - Sapa-AFP