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Qatari diplomat causes bomb scare after smoking cigarette in airplane bathroom

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(Read caption) In this image taken from MSNBC video on Wednesday, shows authorities responding to a plane disturbance on United Flight 663 at the Denver International Airport. The FBI is probing whether a man tried to ignite his shoes on a DC to Denver flight Wednesday, according to law enforcement officials, who say the man is a Qatari diplomat.

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A daily summary of global reports on security issues.

A diplomat from Qatar has been taken into custody for causing a disturbance on a Denver-bound flight Wednesday evening. Authorities said the man apparently smoked a cigarette in the airplane's bathroom. When asked about the smell of smoke, he joked he'd been trying to light his shoes, a reference to the 2001 shoebomber Richard Reed, causing a bomb scare.

Air marshals then restrained him, and military jets were scrambled to escort the Boeing 757 and its 157 passengers to the ground. President Obama was briefed on the situation aboard Air Force One.

The strong reaction reflects a nation still jittery about any suspicious activity on an airplane – particularly after a Nigerian man attempted to blow up a Detroit-bound airplane last Christmas. That incident prompted hand-wringing and a review of airport security procedures nationwide.


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