NEW YORK (AP) — A Croatian terrorist has been granted parole and will be deported to his homeland after serving 30 years of a life prison term for hijacking an airliner and planting a bomb that killed a New York City police officer.

Zvonko Busic was the leader of a group that commandeered a TWA flight as it left LaGuardia Airport in 1976 in an attempt to draw attention to Croatia's struggle for independence from communist Yugoslavia.

The five separatists took the plane to Montreal, London and Paris before authorities shot out its tires and persuaded them to surrender.

Their claim to have explosives aboard the aircraft was a hoax, but they had stashed a real bomb in a locker at Grand Central Terminal to convince authorities that their threat to blow up the aircraft was real.

The bomb went off as police attempted to defuse it, killing one officer and blinding a second.

Busic was convicted in 1977 of air piracy. He briefly escaped from an upstate prison in 1987.

As a condition of his parole, Busic, 62, will be deported to Croatia and barred from ever returning to the U.S. He remains in custody pending his removal hearings, which are expected to take about two months, federal officials said.