Israel Arrests Nine After Air Crash Images Sent to Plane Passengers Spark Panic

Israeli authorities arrested nine people on May 10 on suspicion of using cellphones to send air crash images to other plane passengers, sparking panic and forcing the flight to be aborted.

The Turkish AnadoluJet passenger plane, with some 160 passengers on board, was preparing for take-off at the Ben Gurion Airport near Tel Aviv when passengers alerted the crew that they received plane crash images on their phones, the Israel Airports Authority (IAA) said.

The captain of the plane aborted the flight, passengers and crew were taken off the plane, and authorities re-inspected luggage.

Police identified nine suspects and were held for questioning.

“The nine… are suspected of broadcasting images of an air disaster on the plane, causing panic and delaying the plane’s departure by several hours,” the police said, as quoted by AFP News.

The police added that the offense could be interpreted as a “terrorist threat.”

IAA spokesperson Ofer Lefler told AFP News that the suspects used the AirDrop feature on Apple devices to share the images with other passengers.

Israeli news website Ynet reported that the images included a Turkish plane that crashed in the Netherlands in 2009, killing nine people.

The plane departed five hours late after being cleared to leave.

The incident came two weeks after another security scare at the airport.

Airport security staff on April 28 found an unexploded shell in the luggage of an American family who had planned to take it home as a souvenir.

The discovery caused panic as travelers fled the area, with one person injured after falling over a conveyor belt.

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