U.S. pilots trigger 'terror' alert over Orthodox Jews' tefillin ritual
Pilots on an Alaska Airlines flight lock down the cockpit, alert authorities after three passengers conducted a Jewish prayer ritual during their Los Angeles-bound flight.
Pilots on an Alaska Airlines flight locked down the cockpit and alerted authorities after three passengers conducted an elaborate Orthodox Jewish prayer ritual during their Los Angeles-bound flight.
Airline spokeswoman Bobbie Egan says the crew of Flight 241 from Mexico City became alarmed Sunday after the men began the tefillin ritual, which involves tying leather straps and small wooden boxes to the body.
FBI and customs agents, along with police and fire crews, met the plane at the gate at Los Angeles International Airport.
Airport police say two or three men were escorted off the plane, questioned by the FBI, and released. No arrests were made.
Last year, the New Zealand TVNZ website reported an Israeli tourist aboard a New Zealand ferry was questioned by police for wearing Tefillin.
The captain of the inter-island vessel informed police that a passenger on board had been observed carrying "a suspicious article," which contained "small boxes with wires attached to them."
A short police investigation revealed that the man was carrying the traditional ritual object, which caused suspicion among passengers. The man was released with no further charges.