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Fighter jets escort Northwest Airlines Flight 191 to Detroit Copyright 2001 AP Online

The Associated Press

ROMULUS, Mich. (November 2, 2001 1:06 a.m. EST) - Fighter jets escorted a Northwest Airlines airliner with 78 people aboard to Detroit Metropolitan Airport on Thursday because a note mentioning a bomb was discovered by a passenger, officials said. No bomb was found.

Flight 191 from Reagan Washington National Airport to Minneapolis was diverted to Detroit Metro and landed at 10:12 a.m., Northwest said in a statement.

Passengers were taken off the plane, an Airbus A320, airline spokeswoman Mary Beth Schubert said. The plane had 73 passengers and a crew of five.

A passenger "was thumbing through the magazine pouch and reads a note indicating that there was a bomb on the plane," FBI Special Agent Hank Glaspie said.

The note then was turned over from a flight attendant to the captain, who was directed to land the plane at the nearest airport, Glaspie said. No bomb was found on the aircraft, the FBI said.

Federal agencies were at the airport conducting an investigation, which included interviewing passengers and crew members, he said.

Other aviation-related scares this week include:

- Two F-16 fighter jets on Thursday intercepted a private plane that flew into restricted air space near Millstone Nuclear Power Station and escorted it to Brainard Airport in Connecticut. Planes are banned from flying within 11 miles of nuclear power plants. An FBI spokeswoman said the pilot was questioned but had not been charged.

- In Shippingport, Pa., military jets responded to a report of a low-flying small plane above a nuclear power plant Wednesday. The incident resulted in the grounding of all flights for 18 minutes at Pittsburgh International Airport about 20 miles away. The small plane was not found, officials said.

- Two F-16 fighter jets on Wednesday escorted a small plane to Carroll County Regional Airport in Maryland after the pilot flew through restricted airspace over Camp David. Ken Stinson, the student pilot of the Cessna 172, was questioned for 3 1/2 hours by the Secret Service, the FBI, the Federal Aviation Administration and local law enforcement before he was cleared.

-- Martin Thompson (, November 02, 2001


Friday, 9 November, 2001, 21:30 GMT

Bin Laden's PR blunder

Many Arabs now view Bin Laden with unease

By Frank Gardner -- BBC Middle East Correspondent

Osama Bin Laden's popularity in the Arab world appears to be waning - even if his appeal is still a force to be reckoned with, especially in parts of Saudi Arabia.

His recent videotaped denunciation of the United Nations has gone down badly with many Arabs, and in the past week the Arab press has criticised him for giving Islam a bad name.

The initial pan-Arab euphoria that greeted his videotaped messages last month has been replaced by something else - a feeling of unease among Arabs.

They are asking themselves if this really is the man they want to represent all their grievances against Western policies.

The answer for many is no. More and more Arabs now accept that Bin Laden's organisation al-Qaeda was behind the 11 September terrorist attacks on the US, and they want nothing to do with it.

'Narrow and extreme'

Arab intellectuals have been writing increasingly outspoken articles in the press, accusing Bin Laden of giving both Islam and Arabs a bad name.

A recent editorial in the Lebanese daily El-Mustaqbal attacked his rhetoric as being morally and politically defunct, and without logic.

The article said his views were based on a narrow and extreme Islamic view of relations with non-Muslims.

Arabs are also perplexed by Osama Bin Laden's recent video broadcast in which he called the United Nations an enemy, and its secretary general, Kofi Annan, a criminal.

UN key

One of the few strands of hope for peace that people cling to in the Arab-Israeli conflict is the thought that a final peace deal will have to be based on UN resolutions.

Those resolutions, numbers 242 and 338, call for an Israeli withdrawal from occupied Arab land.

So for Osama Bin Laden to lash out at the UN for whatever motive is probably a public relations blunder.

But those who have met him say Bin Laden is extremely resourceful, and that it is far too early to write him off as a spent force. 027.stm

-- Jackson Brown (, November 09, 2001.

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