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Police detain passenger over Air France hoax bomb

An Air France passenger has been detained following the emergency landing of a Paris-bound flight in Kenya because of a fake bomb found in a lavatory. The carrier has also filed a lawsuit in the incident.

The detained passenger was a retired policeman, AFP news agency reported, citing a legal source. The 58-year-old man was taken into custody by border police upon his return to France. His wife is also being quizzed as a witness.

There was no further information provided about the couple, not even their nationalities.

A Paris-bound Air France Boeing 777 carrying nearly 500 people was forced to make an emergency landing in Mombasa, Kenya on Sunday after a passenger informed the flight staff about the suspicious object found inside a toilet.

The object, which was made of cardboard, sheets of paper and a household timer, was found to pose no threat to the aircraft and the passengers, who had been evacuated using emergency slides.

The French carrier has filed a lawsuit against unknown persons for endangering the life of others, spokeswoman Ulli Gendrot said on Monday. The lawsuit leaves it to investigators to find out who might eventually face the charges.

Air France Chief Executive Frederic Gagey said on Sunday there had been three bomb scares on the carrier's planes in the United States in the past 15 days.

High alert

France continues to be on high alert following the November 13 jihadist attacks at several locations in Paris that killed 130 people.

Airlines are particularly jittery. The scare comes just over a month after a Russian airliner, also an Airbus A321, was downed over the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt, killing all 224 people on board. A group affiliated with the so-called "Islamic State" claimed responsibility for the incident, saying it had smuggled a bomb onto the flight.

Earlier in the month, a German passenger jet traveling from Berlin to the Egyptian coastal resort of Hurghada made an emergency landing in Budapest over a bomb threat. No explosives were found on board.

ap/rg (AFP/AP)

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