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An El Al plane carrying 156 passengers was forced to return to Beijing before dawn on Friday after a bird was drawn into one of its engines.

The flight crew noticed an engine malfunction and decided not to take unnecessary risks, opting for a return landing to Beijing. Only after the plane returned to its terminal did flight personnel learn that a bird was vacuumed into the engine.

The plane, a Boeing 767 model bound for Ben-Gurion Airport, is equipped with two engines. An El Al spokesman said the return to Beijing was not an emergency landing, and that both engines were functioning properly throughout the course of the flight.

The company said it dispatched another plane from Israel to pick up the passengers and transport them back to Ben-Gurion Airport.