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Merkel says Belarus’s Hamas claim ‘completely implausible’

BRUSSELS, Belgium — German leader Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday dismisses Belarus’s explanation for why it forced an airliner to land in Minsk and arrested a dissident on board.

“We have seen a forced landing that led to the arrest,” Merkel says on arrival at an EU summit where sanctions will be discussed. “All other explanations for the landing of this Ryanair flight are completely implausible.”

Belarus claimed a short time ago that it had forced the plane’s landing after receiving a warning that the Palestinian terror group Hamas planned to blow it up.

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