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UK diverts Pakistan airliner, arrests 2 men

By Cassandra Vinograd & Danica Kirka

Associated Press

POSTED:
LAST UPDATED: 07:21 a.m. HST, May 24, 2013



LONDON » Two men have been arrested on suspicion of endangerment of an aircraft after an incident on a plane flying from Pakistan to Britain, officials said, rattling the U.K. just days a British soldier was killed on a London street in a suspected terror attack.

A fighter jet was launched to divert the Pakistan International Airlines plane carrying nearly 300 passengers to Britain's Stansted Airport today. The plane, which took off from Lahore, Pakistan, was originally supposed to have landed in Manchester.

Essex Police said that two men have been arrested and removed from the plane, which landed safely and was on an isolated runway at Stansted Airport. Britain's Ministry of Defense confirmed that a Typhoon jet was scrambled to investigate an incident involving a civilian aircraft but declined to provide further details.

Chris Wiggan, a spokesman at Stansted Airport, said passengers were disembarking from the plane. "It is not an emergency evacuation," he said.

Pakistan International Airlines spokesman Mashood Tajwar said the airline had been unable to contact the pilot of the Flight P709 despite repeated attempts. He said 297 passengers and 11 crew members were on the diverted plane.

The incident comes as many police forces across Britain have stepped up patrols in recent days following a suspected terror attack in south London.

Two men with meat cleavers attacked and killed a British soldier in broad daylight, and gruesome footage that emerged after the attack showed one of the alleged assailants angrily complaining about the British government and troops in foreign lands.

Those two suspects were shot when police arrived on the scene and have been hospitalized.






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