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IAF scrambles fighter jets after bomb threat on China-bound plane in India’s airspace

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New Delhi: Indian Air Force scrambled Sukhoi fighter jets to intercept a commercial airliner after a bomb scare on the plane flying from Iran to China that was moving towards the New Delhi airspace.

According to sources, inputs were received at 9:20 am by Delhi Police about a bomb threat on board a Mahan Air flight headed to Guangzhou in China from Tehran in Iran.

The plane had entered Indian airspace when the alert from Indian Air Traffic Control was shared with the plane. Indian Air Force Su-30MKI fighter jets from Punjab and Jodhpur airbases were scrambled to intercept the plane, sources told ANI.

The IAF later said the Mahan Air passenger flight was allowed to proceed toward China after it was asked by the Iranian agencies to disregard the threat.

The IAF also confirmed that the China-bound Mahan Air flight had exited the Indian airspace.

IAF jets followed the plane from a safe distance as per the standard operating procedures till the time the aircraft was in Indian airspace.

“We continued to follow it closely till the time it left Indian airspace. The aircraft is now out of Indian air space.” IAF sources were quoted as saying by ANI.

The IAF said in a statement that the Iranian plane was denied permission to land in Delhi and was first given the option to land in Jaipur and then Chandigarh but the pilot refused to divert the plane.

“On October 3, intimation was received of a bomb scare on an aircraft bearing Iranian registration, when it was transiting through Indian airspace. IAF fighter aircraft were scrambled, which followed the aircraft at a safe distance,” the IAF said in a statement.

“All actions were taken by IAF as per laid down procedure, jointly with the Ministry of Civil Aviation and Bureau of Civil Aviation Security. The aircraft was under close radar surveillance by the Air Force throughout the Indian airspace,” the IAF said.

Data from Filghtradar24 showed the plane reducing altitude over the Delhi-Jaipur airspace for a brief period before it was seen making its way out of Indian airspace.

The plane was seen continuing on its flight path towards China.