Israeli flight to Georgia forced to turn back as passenger assaults cabin crew

Man reportedly shouts he has PTSD from Gaza war where he saw ‘bodies flying,’ is restrained by other passengers; flight attendant injured, requires medical treatment

An El Al plane after takeoff from Ben Gurion Airport. September 7, 2014. (Moshe Shai/Flash90)
Illustrative: A plane after takeoff from Ben Gurion Airport. September 7, 2014. (Moshe Shai/Flash90)

A flight by El Al’s charter carrier Sun D’Or heading to Georgia was forced to turn back and land after a passenger attacked the cabin crew while reportedly yelling that he was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder caused by time spent in the Gaza Strip during the ongoing war there.

In a statement, national airline El Al said that after the departure of flight LY5107 from Tel Aviv to Tbilisi “there was an unusual incident of a passenger who behaved violently towards El Al staff.”

The plane turned back and landed in Tel Aviv “in order to drop off the passenger in coordination with the Israel Police.”

El Al stressed that it was not “a security incident” — meaning a terror-related event — but it nonetheless the airline takes it “seriously.”

A woman who was on the flight told Channel 12 that the fracas started about an hour after takeoff when the man pulled some medical cannabis from his bag and started to shout.

“He hit the flight attendant and screamed all through the plane and collapsed,” said the woman, who was asleep when the commotion started. “It was right next to me.”

She said the passenger shouted, “I was in Gaza, and I have PTSD, I saw bodies flying through the air.”

The woman said that others on board tried to calm the man down and managed to pull the cabin crew member away from him.

Other passengers managed to subdue the man who was “very traumatized,” the unnamed woman reported.

Cabin crew summoned police as the plane flew to Israel and officers along with medical teams boarded the aircraft once it was on the ground.

The unruly passenger was taken to the hospital for a checkup. The assaulted flight attendant also required medical treatment, Channel 12 reported. The plane later  resumed its journey.

War erupted on October 7 when the Palestinian terror group Hamas led a devastating attack on Israel that killed 1,200 people, mostly civilians.

Israel responded with a military campaign to destroy Hamas and free 253 hostages of all ages who were abducted during the Palestinian attack.

More than 260 IDF soldiers have been killed and hundreds more injured in Israel’s Gaza offensive.

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