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Terrorist alarm: UK-bound Pakistan plane diverted after men advanced to cockpit

Published:Friday | May 24, 2013 | 10:17 AM


Two men were arrested on suspicion of endangering an aircraft Friday after a UK fighter jet was scrambled to divert their plane as it traveled from Pakistan to Britain, officials said.

The incident further rattled the UK just days after a British soldier was brutally killed on a London street in a suspected terror attack.

A British security official said the situation involving the Pakistan International Airlines flight, which carried more than 300 people, did not appear to be terror-related, but that police were still investigating.

He requested anonymity because he was not authorised to discuss the investigation.

A fighter jet was launched to divert Flight P709 – which was supposed to travel from Lahore to Manchester – to Britain's Stansted Airport, where it was kept on an isolated runway.

Essex Police said two suspects, ages 30 and 41, were taken to a police station for questioning.

Passenger Nauman Rizvi told Pakistan's GEO TV that two men who had tried to move toward the cockpit during the flight were handcuffed and arrested once the plane landed.

Rizvi said that after the men were taken away, the flight crew told passengers there had been a terrorist threat and that the pilot had raised an alarm.

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