PHOENIX – A “telephonic bomb threat” against a Southwest Airlines flight from Los Angeles to Austin, Texas, resulted in the plane being diverted to Phoenix on Monday afternoon, the FBI said.
Laura Eimiller of the FBI’s Los Angeles field office said the flight left Los Angeles International Airport at 2:12 p.m. before the threat was received by telephone. She didn’t provide further details.
“The FBI and law enforcement partners are responding to conduct an investigation of the aircraft, as well as to determine the person or persons responsible for the threat,” Eimiller said in a statement.
F-16s were scrambled out of Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson to monitor the flight as a precaution as it flew into Sky Harbor, according to NORAD officials.
Flight 2675 landed safely at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport at about 3 p.m., and authorities in Los Angeles asked Phoenix police to check out the possible threat.
The plane’s crew and 143 passengers got off the plane and boarded several buses. All of the passengers were being interviewed by investigators, said Sgt. Steve Martos, a Phoenix police spokesman.
Anti-government protests intensify
ISTANBUL – Hundreds of police clad in riot gear pushed easily past barricades in Istanbul’s central Taksim Square early today, and many of the protesters who had occupied the square for more than a week were pushed into a nearby park.
Police briefly fired tear gas canisters and rubber bullets, prompting many of the protesters to flee the square into Gezi Park, where many had been camping.
Some of the activists fired fireworks, fire bombs and stones at police water cannon.
Earlier, demonstrators had manned the barricades and prepared for a possible intervention when officers began massing in the area.
Police began taking down large banners that had been hung by protesters on a large building on the edge of the square, replacing them with a large Turkish flag and a banner with the picture of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the beloved founder of the secular republic 89 years ago after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire.
Turkey’s widespread anti-government protests erupted May 31 after a violent police crackdown on a peaceful sit-in by protesters objecting to a project replacing the park with a replica Ottoman-era barracks.
Prior to the police action, the protests appeared to be diminishing, with the smallest number of demonstrators in the past 12 days gathering in Taksim on Monday night.