DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — An Etihad Airways flight from Cairo to Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates, was diverted to a military air base in Dubai on Sunday for “security reasons,” the airline said.
The Abu Dhabi-based airline, the UAE’s national carrier, said 128 passengers and seven crew members on Etihad flight 650 disembarked after being diverted to Dubai’s al-Minhad air base. They were transferred by bus to Abu Dhabi after they and their luggage underwent additional security screenings.
Security officials searched the Airbus A321 and found nothing suspicious, Etihad said. The plane later returned to Abu Dhabi.
The airline gave no details on the nature of the threat.
Twitter accounts associated with sympathizers of the Islamic State group tweeted out messages overnight threating airplanes, with one mentioning the Etihad flight specifically.
It was the second scare in a week involving a UAE-based carrier.
On Monday, a jetliner operated by Air Arabia was diverted to al-Minhad after a passenger said the plane would explode. That flight was from Kuwait to Sharjah, a city outside Dubai, where the airline is based.
The state news agency WAM said authorities in that case “took the appropriate standard procedures to deal with the situation,” without elaborating.
The Emirates is a seven-state federation that is an important Western ally and a member of the U.S.-led coalition taking part in airstrikes against the Islamic State group, which has seized about a third of Iraq and Syria.
Aviation is a key industry for the oil-rich country. The nation is home to Dubai-based airline Emirates, the Mideast’s biggest carrier, and Dubai International Airport, the world’s busiest airport for international passenger traffic.
Abu Dhabi International Airport, the intended destination for Sunday’s diverted flight, is undergoing a major expansion to accommodate Etihad’s rapid growth.
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