Bomb scare on flight after terror warning

Last updated at 13:44 27 July 2004

A United Airlines flight bound for Los Angeles was forced to make an emergency landing at Sydney airport after an on-board security scare.

Australian Transport Minister John Anderson has confirmed that the plane turned back after a note carrying a bomb threat was found on-board.

Police in Sydney, who interviewed all 246 passengers, later confirmed the threat was a hoax.

The flight landed safely at about 5.45pm (7.45am GMT) and local news reported that passengers were being bussed off the aircraft at an isolated part of the airport.

Local television showed several emergency vehicles lined up along one of the airport's runways while rush-hour traffic around the airport was at a standstill.

Roads leading to the airport were also closed off.

Initial reports suggested that a silent alarm had gone off on-board indicating a possible breach of cockpit security and the flight was forced to turn back. These reports were denied by the airport.

Over the weekend, a group claiming to be a European affiliate of al-Qaida warned it would turn Australia into "pools of blood" if Canberra doesn't withdraw its troops from Iraq.

Australian has nearly 900 military personnel in and around Iraq.

It was the second statement in a week by the Tawhid Islamic Group, a previously unknown group which last Wednesday threatened attacks in Bulgaria and Poland if their troops remained in the Arab country.

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