Turkey Foils Plane Hijacking

February 7, 2014  

Turkey on Friday scrambled a jet fighter to force down an airliner from Ukraine after a would-be hijacker on board brandishing a detonator ordered it to Sochi where the Winter Olympic opening ceremony was underway, Turkish officials told AFP.

A Turkish F-16 made the plane, from Turkey’s Pegasus airline and carrying 110 people, land in Istanbul.

The hijacker was believed to be a Ukrainian man, Turkish media reported. Outlets reported that he was overpowered and security forces were on the plane.

Habib Soluk, deputy Turkish transport ministry, said that the man was holding a detonator as he tried to get to the cockpit and claimed there was a bomb on board.

“We are sure that he didn’t enter the cockpit. We know that the aircraft was hijacked before it entered Turkish airspace,” Soluk said, according to AFP.

The Pegasus pilot managed to sound the alert and the Turkish F-16 military jet was scrambled.

Security around the Olympic Games has been a major issue, following two deadly December suicide attacks in the southern Russian city of Volgograd.

The first bombing, on December 29, took place at a train station in the city, killing 18 people. A day later, a suicide bombing on a trolleybus in the same city killed another 16 people.

Terrorists believed to be involved in the Volgograd bombings have threatened to attack the Olympics.

Earlier this week, the United States warned American and foreign airlines on Wednesday that terrorists could try to place explosives disguised as toothpaste on Russia-bound flights.

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