Belarus Claims Ryanair Bomb Threat Came from Hamas but Organization Denied Any Involvement
Belarusian Transport Ministry announced that Hamas was behind the bomb threat that allegedly forced a Ryanair flight to land in Minsk on May 23, reports the Belarusian news.
The director of the Transport Ministry’s Aviation Department, Artem Sikorsky, told the press that on May 23, the Minsk National Airport received an email allegedly from Hamas soldiers which demanded "that Israel cease fire in the Gaza Strip and that the European Union renounce its support for Israel in this war”.
Sikorsky added that the Belarusian air traffic controllers informed the crew of the Ryanair flight about the threat, after which the crew made the decision to land at the Minsk National Airport. The Belarusian official stressed that “there was no pressure or coercion to land the aircraft.”
However Hamas spokesman Barhoum said the group “has nothing to do with that completely”.
“We don’t resort to these methods, which could be the doing of some suspicious parties that aim to demonise Hamas and foil the state of world sympathy with our Palestinian people and their legitimate resistance,” the Hamas spokesman said.
Belarus Ambassador to the EU, Aleksandr Mikhnevich, was summoned to be notified that EU condemns the inadmissible step of the Belarusian authorities, who forced a civilian plane to perform an emergency landing in Minsk and detained its passenger Raman Pratasevich, an independent Belarusian journalist and activist.
Earlier on Monday in a declaration, the High Representative on behalf of the EU, stated that “the Belarusian authorities, in an inadmissible step, forced a civilian plane to perform an emergency landing in Minsk”.
The EU will consider the consequences of this action, including taking measures against those responsible, High Representative Josep Borrell stressed.
Without waiting for the EU, Latvia’s airBaltic said it would avoid Belarusian airspace, and Lithuania’s government said it would instruct all flights to and from the Baltic country to avoid Belarus as well starting Tuesday.
British Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said he instructed the UK Civil Aviation Authority “to request airlines avoid Belarusian airspace in order to keep passengers safe”. He added he was suspending the permit allowing the Belarusian airline Belavia to operate in the UK.
Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy ordered officials to move to cut the air link with Belarus and ban Ukrainian flights via its airspace.
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