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Pakistan jet intercepted by fighters over UK after passenger bomb threat - officials

A passenger jet heading from Pakistan to England was intercepted by U.K. fighter jets after an "angry passenger" made a bomb threat Friday, an airline official said.

The Boeing 777 was forced to divert from Manchester airport to London Stansted after a disruptive passenger told a flight attendant he would set off a bomb, said a senior Pakistan International Airlines official who asked not to be identified.

"It seems that the threat was passed in anger," the official said. "But we are still trying to figure things out."

The plane, from Lahore, was carrying 308 passengers and landed safely at London Stansted, the official said.


Police said two passengers had been arrested "on suspicion of endangerment of aircraft" - a criminal offense that includes everything from terror threats to misbehavior.

The two passengers who were arrested were identified by Pakistan International Airlines as Safdar Mahmood and Tayyab Subhani, both British nationals. Essex police did not confirm their identities, but confirmed they were British nationals who were ages 30 and 41.

The Royal Air Force Typhoon jets were scrambled after a security alert was sent to air traffic controllers by the passenger jet's pilots, British military officials said. 

They said fighter jets had been scrambled, but the explanation for the alert was not immediately known. 

"Typhoon aircraft from RAF Coningsby were launched today to investigate an incident involving a civilian aircraft within U.K. airspace; further details will be provided when known," the Ministry of Defence said in a statement.

No suspicious items have been recovered from the plane, Essex police said. The plane will remain at its current location for forensic examination by specialists. 

 

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