Swiss Fighter Jets Intercept El Al Flight After Bomb Threat

A F/A-18 Hornet fighter aircraft of the Swiss Air Force takes off on February 20, 2013 at Payerne airport. AFP PHOTO / FABRICE COFFRINI (Photo credit should read FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images)

Two Swiss Air Force fighter jets were summoned to escort an El Al Israeli passenger plane headed to Israel Tuesday, after the company received an anonymous bomb threat.

El Al flight LY002 was traveling from New York to Tel Aviv when airline officials received an anonymous tip about a bomb on board.

On crossing the border from France into Switzerland, the two F-18 Swiss fighter jets were “scrambled”—a term meaning calling military aircraft to immediate action in order to respond to a threat—and were able to establish visual contact with the pilot.

Local news reported that two supersonic booms could be heard at around 8:30am in the northern Swiss canton of Schaffhausen, in German-speaking Switzerland, as the FA-18 fighter jets raced to reach the passenger plane.

The fighter jets accompanied the El Al Boeing 747 through Switzerland’s airspace from the French border, the Swiss Air Force said in a statement, after which the Swiss jets returned to the country’s Payerne air base and the commercial plane continued its course toward Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion Airport.

The plane’s kitchen was searched, but no bomb was discovered and the plane landed safely at Ben-Gurion Airport in central Israel.

El Al released a statement confirming that it had received an anonymous tip about a bomb on board the flight and saying that no explosive device had been found on board.

Last month, El Al security personnel at the Athens International Airport reportedly took action against a person they considered suspicious.

The man was walking through the airport with a large backpack, arousing the suspicion of the security guards.

When the man ignored the guards’ calls to halt, they accosted him.

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