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'Qatari diplomat detained' after incident on US plane

Category: Headlines

Published: 8th Apr 2010 04:17:54

A man has been detained after an incident on a flight from Washington's Reagan airport to Denver.

Two F-16 jets were scrambled to intercept the plane and escort it to land safely at Denver airport, the US Northern Command said.

There were initial reports that a Qatari diplomat had tried to set fire to his shoes.

But officials later said no explosives were found and he had apparently been trying to smoke in a plane toilet.

When confronted, the man "made a joke about it", which further alarmed people on board the flight, said an unnamed official quoted by the Associated Press.

The man has been identified as a Qatari diplomat stationed at the country's Washington embassy.

The plane, with more than 160 passengers and crew on board, arrived at Denver International Airport, where TV footage showed it surrounded by security vehicles.

The US Transportation Security Administration said the suspect was being interviewed by law enforcement officials.

"TSA is monitoring an incident on board United Airlines flight 663 from [Washington to Denver] after receiving initial reports that a Federal Air Marshal responded to a passenger possibly causing a disturbance on board this aircraft," the agency said in a statement.

The incident came just months after a Nigerian man allegedly tried to detonate a bomb on a passenger jet arriving in the US.

Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, 23, was overpowered by passengers and crew shortly before the Northwest Airlines plane landed in Detroit from Amsterdam on 24 December. He has been charged with attempting to destroy a plane.

In 2001, Richard Reid, a British citizen, attempted to blow up a transatlantic passenger jet carrying 197 people with explosives hidden in his shoes.

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BBC News, 2010. 'Qatari diplomat detained' after incident on US plane [Online] (Updated 8th Apr 2010)
Available at: http://www.ukwirednews.com/news/50184/Qatari-diplomat-detained-after-incident-on-US-plane [Accessed 17th Apr 2014]

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