Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Bomb Hoax diverts Oman Air flight. Bahrain boosts Omani tourism

Reports yesterday about how an Oman Air flight to Chennai was foced to land in Mumbai after a threatening note was discovered in a toilet on route.

The plane was searched and apparently nothing found. But the idiot who placed the note successfully delayed 130 people scheduled on the return flight, plus the delay in having to land and search the plane.

It's a pity they didn't catch whoever it was.

Not surprisingly, nothing in today's papers on the matter.

Flight from Muscat to Chennai delayed after hoax bomb threat

Express News Service/Agence France-PresseFirst Published : 26 May 2009 03:36:00 AM IST
CHENNAI: A hoax bomb note created a flutter amongst the passengers of an Oman Air flight bound to Chennai from Muscat on Monday afternoon.

The flight WY 857 had taken off from Muscat at 09:15 (local time there) and was scheduled to arrive in Chennai by 2:30 pm.

Enroute, the crew came across a note on the flight that supposedly announced, “You all are going to die, bye!” The note had been found in the toilet.

The captain of the flight then called for an emergency landing in Mumbai at about 1.15 pm where all the 135 passengers and four infants disembarked.

A bomb squad was pressed into service. It combed the aircraft but found nothing. The flight was then delayed due to some procedural formalities and took off from Mumbai at about 9.45pm.“Such pranks have cost a lot in terms of both time and money. This same flight was to take off from Chennai at about 4 pm,” an airport source said.

“More than 130 Muscat-bound passengers who were to take this flight at 4 pm will now be accommodated in hotels at the expense of Oman Air. They will take off tomorrow at 7 am,” an airport source told The New Indian Express.

In other news, Bahrain's MPs are doing their bit to support Oman's tourism trade by proposing to ban alcohol throughout Bahrain except in 5 start hotel rooms and in private residences.

Bahrain's Parliament: Out to lunch...

Thank goodness for benign dictatorship... it does help avoid a lot of the silliness of wacky elected members of Parliament! And great for us that Bahrain wants to get rid of the demon drink. All those Saudi's will now have to fly to Oman or the UAE for a libation.


Gulf Daily News: Letters
The whole world by now must know about the proposed ban on alcohol by our so-called visionary MPs who have Bahrain and its interests at heart.

I'm of course not referring to the weekly coverage and updates in the GDN or other publications here, but the fact that it was headlined on BBC's leisure/tourist programme Fast Track which carried a feature about Dubai and how it is coping following the world financial crisis.

The presenter in his despatch said Bahrain's parliament had proposed a ban on the sale of alcohol and would only permit its consumption for guests in hotel rooms or for residents in their private residences.

Now that the cat has been let out of the bag, it would be interesting to see what the knock-on effect will be following this disclosure.

Potential visitors from outside the region, I suspect, will be put off coming to Bahrain and opt for more attractive destinations such as the UAE, Oman or Qatar.

I am sure people from around the world have known about Bahrain through Formula One, but on hearing the proposed ban they will surely have second thoughts about visiting?

Didn't the MPs realise that BBC is probably the most watched and listened to medium in the world and millions would have heard the message.

Well done MPs, you are well on the road to successfully turning this fine little country and its positive image over the years into the laughing stock of the region.

In Other news:

Tehran blocks Facebook ahead of elections

Tehran blocks access to Facebook

Iran has blocked access to social networking site Facebook ahead of June's presidential elections, Iran's Ilna news agency and web users say.

Ilna says the move is aimed at stopping supporters of reformist candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi from using the site for his campaign.

Facebook, which says it has 175m users worldwide, expressed its disappointment over the reported ban.

So far there has been no comment from the Tehran authorities.


  1. UD

    Just to give a bit more info.
    Cabin crew found a suspect package and a note in a toilet.
    Pilots decided on a divert to Mumbai.
    Package removed by Indian EOD team - who did a fine job by all accounts.
    Described as "elaborate" hoax.
    More news as I hear about it.


  2. To be fair, there was apparently mention of this in today's Al Shabiba, a paper that, despite its dread association with the dire Times of Oman is at times capable - mostly because of a couple of talented individual reporters - of doing actual journalism.

  3. JD

    Thanks for the intel... More?

    Thank you too. If only I was able to read or speak Arabic...

  4. Folks, this is big news. Kudo's to all involved in the investigation, another terrorist behind bars for good. Just posting the Oman related bits.

    How Lashkar funded transnational terror campaign


    Praveen Swami

    Oman millionaire, Kerala computer engineer, Pakistani jihadists facilitated attacks from Muscat to Mumbai and Bangalore

    Landmarks in Oman were on the terror radar

    Born to an Indian mother, al-Hooti’s radicalisation had been driven by stories of atrocities against Muslims he heard on visits home to Maharashtra. Before he turned 30, al-Hooti had had twice trained at Lashkar camps in Pakistan and emerged as the organisation’s key point-man in Oman.

    Multiple targets

    By 2007, Oman authorities say, the pro-western Emirate itself had begun to figure on al-Hooti’s list of targets.

    In June that year, al-Hooti held discussions with Lashkar sympathisers in Oman on the prospect of targeting prominent landmarks in Muscat, among them a British Broadcasting Corporation office, the Golden Tulip Hotel, and a spa in the upmarket Nizwa area. No final operational plans were made, but Oman authorities found enough evidence to sentence al-Hooti to life last month.
    Back in 2004, British troops in Iraq detained top Lashkar commander Danish Ahmad who, using the name Abdul Rehman al-Dakhil, had for many years trained cadre for covert operations against India. Since Danish’s arrest, which was first reported in The Hindu, Lashkar operatives have been involved in operations in Australia, the United States of America and even the Maldives.

  5. This guy is an Omani national.


    Mumbai terror trail leads to Muscat

    Praveen Swami

    Lashkar financier Ali al-Hooti was in India days before the November attack

  6. UD- You label the Bahraini officals who want to ban alcohol sales except in five star hotels and for private consumption as *wacky*. Well I guess that makes me wacky too. Why do you think alcohol should be sold everywhere? I will not debate alcohol consumption here or what it availablility should be- but I do think your labeling of concerned officals as wacky is unfair and irresponsible. Abd

  7. Sidi,

    Thanks. Posted (finally – was busy). Get a blog!

    Why? Because it’s counter productive, and I’m a pragmatist.

    A significant part of the Bahrain economy is based on touristism, and two large groups of those actually depend on alcohol: Saudis and Formula 1 enthusiasts. A partial ban on booze will thus negatively impact the economy, something Bahrain could do to avoid. The F1 would collapse. There’s also the issue of financial compensation for all those hotel bar owners who have invested in their places under the auspices of being granted by the authorities a valid licence to serve booze.

    Also, prohibition (even partial) will just drive the problem underground, and create an instant and lucrative market for organised crime, assisting in the corruption of the police force in the process. Tax revenues would also be lost, and handed over to criminals. It would also make it much more difficult for those who need help due to addiction to alcohol to get treatment.

    IMHO, it is far better to focus on dealing with the unwanted side effects (drink driving, addiction, underage drinkers, violence & domestic abuse), tax it, and educate people better. If they can’t stop people drinking in Saudi you won’t be able to do it this way.

    I remember when alcohol was more strictly controlled here. Did people without easy access to booze, and who couldn’t afford the illegal product, not drink? No, of course not. They drank aftershave and Mountain Dew (Amul was a popular brand), to the extent that the Government had to eventually mandate that the stuff be manufactured using medical grade alcohol to reduce all the cases of methanol-related blindness they were getting in the health system from people drinking industrial grade alcohol via 'aftershave'.

    As a result, I think it’s a wacky idea, based more on a misguided desire to impose (albeit widely held) personal beliefs onto the general populace and visitors. It’s the sort of law that ‘feels good’ for the politicians concerned, and they can make high-minded speaches about 'getting tough' etc, while actually making the problem worse. (We have many, many similar examples in the west, BTW).

    If you don’t want to drink, that’s fine. And I don't mind some controls either. But simply making something semi-illegal and heavily restricting availability is not a solution!

    Its wacky.

  8. "Saudis and Formula 1 enthusiasts."



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