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Indian fighter jets scramble following false bomb threat on Iranian plane

Flight tracker websites show aircraft performing several midair circles west of New Delhi before heading east toward Guangzhou in China

Illustrative: Indian Air Force three Su 30 MKI fly in a Trishul formation above the ceremonial Rajpath boulevard during India's Republic Day celebrations in New Delhi, India, January 26, 2022. (AP Photo/Manish Swarup)
Illustrative: Indian Air Force three Su 30 MKI fly in a Trishul formation above the ceremonial Rajpath boulevard during India's Republic Day celebrations in New Delhi, India, January 26, 2022. (AP Photo/Manish Swarup)

NEW DELHI, India — Indian military jets were scrambled on Monday following a bomb alert on an Iranian airliner that turned out to be false, the Indian Air Force (IAF) said.

“IAF fighter aircraft were scrambled, which followed the aircraft at a safe distance. The aircraft was offered the option to land at Jaipur & then, at Chandigarh,” the IAF said in a statement, referring to two airports in northern India.

The statement said the pilot was unwilling to divert to either airport, and that instructions were later received to disregard the threat.

“After a while, intimation was received from Tehran to disregard the bomb scare, following which, the aircraft continued on its journey towards its final destination,” the statement said.

The Airbus A340 operated by Iranian carrier Mahan Air, with a capacity of between 320 and 475 passengers, was headed from the Iranian capital Tehran to Guangzhou in China.

Flight tracker websites showed that the aircraft performed several mid-air circles west of the Indian capital New Delhi before heading east towards its final destination.

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