Photo: AP

Air guards prevent hijacking of Iranian airliner

Fars news agency says security personnel found bomb minutes after Kish flight took off with 131 passengers; plane made emergency landing in Ahvaz

Iran's official news agency said air guards successfully foiled an attempt to hijack an Iranian passenger plane, two days after a mosque bombing killed 25 people in the southeast of the country.



The IRNA news agency reported Sunday that the attempted hijacking took place late Saturday on a flight from Tehran to the city of Ahvaz, about 500 miles (800 kilometers) southwest of the capital.


The report did not identify the would-be hijacker, but said security personnel defused a homemade bomb found on an airplane during a domestic flight.


"Minutes after the ... Kish Air flight took off with 131 passengers from Ahvaz to Tehran, security personnel found a homemade bomb" on board, Fars reported.


The device was defused after the aircraft made an emergency landing in the southwestern city of Ahvaz, Fars said.


The incident occurred less than two weeks before the Islamic Republic holds a presidential election in which the conservative incumbent, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad faces a challenge from reformers.


On Thursday, a bombing in a popular Shi'ite mosque in the southeastern city of Zahedan killed 25 people and wounded more than 120.


Three men convicted of involvement in the mosque bombing were executed in public on Saturday in Zahedan.


A Sunni opposition group named Jundollah (God's Soldiers), which Iran says is part of the Islamist al Qaeda network and backed by the United States, said it was behind the bombing, Saudi-owned Al Arabiya television said.


Thursday's bombing was the deadliest such incident in Iran since its 1980-88 war with Iraq. A blast in a mosque in the southern city of Shiraz killed 14 people in April last year but the country has otherwise been relatively peaceful.


Iran has previously accused the United States, its arch-foe, of supporting Sunni rebels operating on its border with Pakistan.


פרסום ראשון: 05.31.09, 09:11
 new comment
This will delete your current comment