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 Qatari Diplomat Causes Security Scare On US Flight

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Numarul mesajelor : 1926
Varsta : 38
Localizare : Bucuresti
Data de inscriere : 09/01/2010

MesajSubiect: Qatari Diplomat Causes Security Scare On US Flight   Joi 08 Apr 2010, 17:18

Titlu : Qatari Diplomat Causes Security Scare On US Flight
Sursa :
Autor : Reuters
Data : 08/04/2010

Citat :
A Qatari diplomat on a United Airlines flight from Washington to Denver caused a security alert after he was apparently caught smoking in the toilet and made a remark that was perceived as a threat.

Qatar's ambassador to Washington called Wednesday's incident a "mistake" said the man was a diplomat travelling on official business. US officials said the man was in custody and the incident did not appear to be serious.

Coming just months after the failed "underwear" bomb attempt on Christmas Day, the scare prompted security officials to scramble two F-16 fighter jets to intercept the Boeing 757 aircraft and escort it to Denver Airport where it landed at about 9 pm EDT.

"It looks like the individual in question was perhaps smoking in the lavatory and might have made an unfortunate remark" when confronted by airline personnel, a US official said.

Qatar's ambassador to Washington, Ali bin Fahad al-Hajri, said the man posed no security threat.

"He certainly wasn't involved in any activities involving a threat. This was a mistake and we request that all parties concerned refrain from making any assumptions or judgements," al-Hajri said in a statement to the Qatar News Agency.

President Barack Obama was briefed on the disturbance and a White House official said actions were taken to ensure travellers' safety.

But passengers aboard United Airlines flight 663 said no struggle took place and the suspect appeared to be speaking calmly to a US air marshal in first class.

"I didn't know anything had happened until we landed," said Tim Burney, a first class passenger sitting one row in front of the man who was handcuffed and taken away for questioning at Denver Airport.

Burney said he overheard the marshal telling the man "just be honest with me" and the passenger saying something about being "embarrassed."


US officials have been on heightened alert and have ramped up security substantially since Christmas Day last year after a Nigerian man allegedly tried but failed to blow up a flight from Amsterdam to Detroit with a bomb hidden in his underwear. He has pleaded not guilty to terrorism charges and is in custody awaiting trial in Detroit.

US officials have tracked the December plane incident back to al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. This has led Washington to step up efforts to combat the militant group in Yemen.

TSA has increased security since that incident, requiring some passengers to undergo full-body scans at airports.
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