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False alarms on Afghan plane

Dubai, Jan. 7 (Reuters): A warplane from the US-led coalition forced an Afghan airliner carrying Muslim pilgrims to land in the United Arab Emirates today, but suspicions it had been hijacked proved false.

A second plane carrying Afghan pilgrims was later also forced to land at a UAE air base but a search for explosives or arms turned up nothing and both planes were allowed to continue to Saudi Arabia, said Rashid Mohammadi, Afghan charge d’affaires in the UAE.

A UAE official said there was no sign of any hijack attempt when officials investigated an Ariana Afghan Airlines plane that landed at a base after reports it may have been taken over. “There was no sign of any hijack attempt,” the official said. “Another plane at Sharjah airport was also searched and nothing was found.”

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