Police at Ben Gurion Airport detained 9 Arab residents from a village from northern Israel, on Tuesday. The police spokesman’s office stated that the individuals were removed from their plane – a Turkish flight – before it took off, on suspicion of disseminating false information about an aviation disaster at the airport.
A total of 18 people from the same village were removed from the plane, but only 9 of them were detained by the police.
While aboard, the 9 allegedly distributed pictures by phone of some sort of air disaster in a manner that caused panic and delayed takeoff for several hours. Their activities led to authorities requiring all of the passengers to disembark while the plane underwent what police have described as a thorough inspection.
The photos were reportedly sent to the passengers’ phones using Apple’s AirDrop, which can transfer files among supported iOS devices by means of close-range wireless communication, and so only iPhone users received them.
The photos were of a Turkish plane crash in the Netherlands in 2009 and of a crash in San Francisco in 2013.
The suspects are currently being questioned on suspicion of committing a serious offense of disseminating false information that caused fear and panic in the public.
The Israel Airports Authority (IAA) stated at the time of the disruption, “Security crews are taking all necessary steps to ensure that there is no danger to passengers, including a re-inspection of the aircraft passengers and their luggage. All steps taken are in cooperation and coordination with the flight captain who has taken great responsibility in deciding to return the aircraft to the terminal.”