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Bangladesh plane 'hijacker' shot dead after emergency landing

Published: February 28, 2019
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Source: aljazeera.com

Bangladeshi commandos stormed a passenger jet in the country's southeast on Sunday and shot dead an armed man who attempted to hijack the Dubai-bound flight.

The suspect, identified by the name "Mahadi" and described by officials as a 25-year-old Bangladeshi man, was shot as special forces rushed the aircraft after it landed safely in Chittagong.

The 148 passengers and crew on board the Bangladesh Biman flight BG147 were rescued unharmed.

But the suspected hijacker was wounded and died shortly after being arrested, army spokesman Major General Motiur Rahman told reporters.

"He is a Bangladeshi. We found a pistol from him and nothing else," Rahman said.

Muhibul Haque, secretary of the Ministry of Civil Aviation and Tourism, told Al Jazeera a female cabin crew member alerted the pilot after she found the passenger's behaviour suspicious. 

"The pilot then made an emergency landing at Chattagram airport," he said.

All the passengers on board were evacuated after the airport was sealed off.

'Psychologically deranged'

Air Vice Marshall Mofid, who goes by one name, said he then kept the accused busy talking on the phone, while the special forces' units prepared a raid.

"He demanded to speak to our prime minister [Sheikh Hasina]," Mofid said. "He claimed he had a pistol, but we are not sure yet whether it is an actual gun or a fake."

The country's civil aviation chief, Nayeem Hasan, said the suspect had claimed to have a bomb onboard the flight.

"From the talks and dialogue we had with him, it seems he is psychologically deranged," Hasan told reporters.

Another army spokesman, Abdullah Ibne Zaid, said the suspected hijacker claimed to have a gun and a bomb strapped to his chest.

"The army's special forces conducted the operation and the armed man has been neutralised. The situation at [Chittagong's] Shah Amanat International Airport is very much under control of the Bangladesh army," he said.

Faisal Mahmud contributed to this report

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