A Qatari diplomat, Mohammed al Modadi – who apparently has “full diplomatic immunity,” was stopped from “igniting a shoe bomb” tonight aboard United Airlines Flight 663 from Washington, D.C. to Denver. Other reports show his name as Mohammed Yaaqob Y al Maddi. Continuing updates as details are available. See update below.
The fight landed safely at the Denver airport. According to the FBI Mohammed al Modadi has full diplomat immunity as the third secretary and vice-consul in the Embassy of Qatar.
Two jet fighters were scrambled from Buckley Air Force Base to bring the Boeing 757 into the Denver airport and park it in a remote location on the airport grounds. This report said he had to be subdued.
Greta van Susteren at 10:40 p.m. EDT is reporting that no explosives were involved and the man may have been trying to light his shoe to disfuse some other odor.
Denver’s 9News.com says the man was in plane’s restroom – spent a lot of time in the restroom, “and when he came out,
…an air marshal on the plane smelled smoke and asked the person what he had been doing.”
The person responded that he had been trying to set his shoes on fire.
NBC says it appears the person may not have had any incendiary devices on him.
He is described as 25 to 26 years old and federal sources say
At 11:00 p.m. EDT FOX News is reporting that al Modadi or al Maddi is now in custody.
11:20 p.m. EDT: ABC is now reporting that no explosives were found in al Modadi’s shoes:
Authorities say the diplomat was wrestled to the ground…a US security official said, “it may have been a massive misunderstanding” and the diplomat’s statement may have been a “scarcastic” comment when he was confronted by tow air marshals who have been told by flight attendants that smoke was coming from the lavatory.”
Law enforcement authorities in Denver say the air marshals and the diplomat were in a “physical confrontation.”
Do we have to remind security officials that “sarcastic” like al Madadi’s are now allowed in airports on on airplanes these days. I think the air marshall understood that they had an Arab man that was up to something…even if not lighting his shoes. What were the flight attendants smelling? How about the terror the passengers probably felt? How about the expense of 2 jet escorts? Qatar needs to pay-up.
If this was not an attempt to bring down a U.S. airliner, then it is a
warning that diplomats simply cannot be immune to charges in cases of
We have the bottomline, and it isn’t pretty: Modadi was smoking in the lavatory, or as HuffPo put it, he was only “sneaking a smoke.” Yet, he obviously had a lighter or matches – which I guess is legal these days. He made an inciteful comment that you and I could not make and get away with it, and he physically struggled with air marshals.
A reader and blogger, Mustang at Social Sense, commented that immunity “works well for American diplomats. Ask any number of such individuals whose heads were cut off by peace-loving Muslims.”
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