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29 Jul, 2010 21:24

Russian police avert plane hijacking

Russian special forces detained a man on Thursday who threatened to hijack a passenger airplane at a Moscow airport.

30-year old Magomet Bakiyev handed a note to the plane crew demanding a telephone call from the law enforcement forces, just as the plane arrived in Domodedovo airport from Russia's North Caucasus city of Mineralniye Vody.

When he finally received the call, Bakiyev requested a meeting with Russia’s Prime Minister Putin, saying he had important information to share. Crew members said the hijacker seemed to present no immediate danger and only issued requests such as “I suggest you keep the doors locked,” and “I suggest that you don’t pass the water to the passengers.”

However, after one of the passengers fell ill and the hijacker allowed doctors to board the plane, special forces disguised as medical personnel entered the plane, seizing Bakiyev and freeing 105 passengers and crew.

Officials reported the man was unarmed. He is now facing charges of unlawful confinement.

"It was the fastest aircraft-freeing operation in the history of civil aviation," airport spokeswoman Yelena Galanova said about the two-hour debacle.