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Fighter jets escort US passenger flights after alarm raised over bathroom use

Airline officials said that two passengers on board an American Airlines flight from LA spent an “extraordinarily long time” in the plane’s bathroom.

An F-16 jet similar to those which escorted two US commercial flights last weekend.
An F-16 jet similar to those which escorted two US commercial flights last weekend.
Image: AP Photo/Francois Mori/PA

US FIGHTER JETS escorted two commercial flights at the weekend during increased concerns of a terrorist attack on the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.

US officials said that the military escort was organised “out of an abundance of caution” after flight crews reported suspicious activity among their passengers.

The flights in question were an American Airlines flight from LA to New York and a Frontier Airlines flight from Denver to Detroit. Two F-16 fighter jets accompanied each after the alarm was raised until they landed at their destinations and were searched by security teams.

Three passengers on the LA flight and two on the Denver one who made repeated trips to the bathroom were questioned by the FBI and later released. In a statement, the agency said that no two people were in the bathroom at the same time.

It also said that apparent hand signals among some of the passengers were misinterpreted by the flight crew and that the passengers’ behaviour was innocent.

US authorities warned the public to be vigilant for anything suspicious in the run-up to the 9/11 anniversary at the weekend and extra police were deployed in New York. Vice-president Joe Biden said last week that the CIA had briefed him and President Obama on “credible” information regarding a suspected terrorist plot involving three men.

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- Additional reporting by the AP

9/11 recordings: “Somebody’s stabbed… I think we’re getting hijacked” >

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