Iranian cargo plane Turkish airport (R) 311.
(photo credit: Reuters)
An Iranian cargo
plane was forced to land in Diyarbakir airport in Turkey on Saturday to
undergo an inspection to search for any
illicit or military materials on board, AFP quoted security sources as
saying on Sunday. The plane had been en route to Syria.
The grounding of the plane followed a similar incident last week in which a Syria-bound Iranian aircraft was forced to land in Diyarbakir, searched and later released.
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Sunday, military fighter planes were on hand in case the civilian
Ilyushin aircraft's crew refused to comply with the Turkish authorities
order to land.
Inspection of the plane's cargo was reportedly ongoing.
The plane inspected last week on Tuesday was found carrying 150 tons of
food, but no "material contrary to international standards,” Turkish
Earlier reports had suggested that the aircraft had been carrying arms or nuclear material.
The Turkish Foreign Ministry denied a Dogan news agency report that
Turkish military jets forced the plane to land at Diyarbakir airport to
search it for arms. The ministry said it is standard procedure for
Iranian cargo planes to request permission to fly over Turkey, and
sometimes they are required to make unscheduled landings to be searched.
Oren Kessler and Yaakov Katz contributed to this report