SAWT BEIRUT INTERNATIONAL

| 22 September 2021, Wednesday |

Iran’s Revolutionary Guard says airplane hijacking disrupted

TEHRAN: Iran’s paramilitary Revolutionary Guard on Friday said authorities disrupted the attempted hijacking of a passenger plane in flight the night before, though it offered few details on what happened.

The purported hijacking targeted an Iran Air Fokker 100 regional commercial jet heading from the southwestern city of Ahvaz to the northwestern city of Mashhad, the Guard said on its website.

The Guard announcement on Friday did not identify the hijacker, saying only the hijacker sought to divert the flight to the “southern shores of the Persian Gulf.” That description would include the countries of Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, three nations long suspicious of Iran’s intentions in the wider region.

It said the Iran Air flight made an emergency landing in the central Iranian city of Isfahan, and no one was injured in the incident. It wasn’t immediately clear if the purported hijacker was armed or faced criminal charges.

A Fokker 100 was scheduled to take off from Ahvaz for Mashhad at 7:15 p.m. Thursday, according to the plane-tracking website FlightRadar24.com. Iran Air has three of the aircraft in its fleet, each around 30 years old as Iran remains locked out of international aircraft sales due to sanctions.

Iranian domestic flights reportedly carry armed air marshals aboard them to disrupt any attempted attack or hijacking. The last such attempt happened in 2000.