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Turkish Airlines plane (Archive) Photo: AP
Turkish Airlines plane (Archive) Photo: AP

Israeli lands in Iran due to malfunction in plane

Israeli passenger spends several hours at Tehran airport after his Turkish Airlines flight is forced to land there due to technical problem. 'They treated me very well and invited me to visit again,' man says

Lilach Shoval
Published: 05.06.07, 09:43 / Israel News

An Israeli citizen found himself at the Tehran international airport this weekend, after his plane, which was bound for India, had to land in Iran due to a technical malfunction.


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Benny Medvediev, 32, from Rehovot boarded a Turkish Airlines flight to Mumbai in Istanbul on Friday. Two and-a-half hours after takeoff, the captain informed the 125 passengers and crew members that because of a technical problem he was forced to land the plane in Tehran.


After spending several hours at the airport, the plane took off again, but was forced to return to Tehran shortly after.


"At first I was very concerned, I was scared to death," Medvediev said. "But they were very nice to me and even invited me to visit Tehran again. I told them, 'Let's make peace, I invite you to come to Jerusalem'."


Only Israeli on the flight

"When they told us that we were going to make an emergency landing in Tehran, I informed the pilot that I was an Israeli, and asked them to leave me at the cockpit, but they refused," he said.


"I was the only Israeli on the flight. At the beginning, I was scared to death. Like many Israelis I serve in a reserves combat unit and I didn't want to end up like Ron Arad," Medvediev added.


"They told me, 'We know that you're Israeli, but you have nothing to worry about. We will help you with anything you need'."


Despite his concerns, Medvediev ended up receiving VIP treatment from the Iranians. Before his plane took off for the second time, the Iranian security personnel gave him a wooden box as a souvenir from his unusual visit.


Yedioth Ahronoth contributed to this report


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