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Bomb suspect held as plane to Pakistan lands in Sweden

September 25, 2010

Swedish police on Saturday detained a man on suspicion of planning to blow up a Boeing 777 flying from Canada to Pakistan, after a bomb threat forced an emergency landing in Stockholm.

"We are detaining a man that we suspect had some explosives aboard an aircraft between Canada and Pakistan," Stefan Raadman of the Stockholm police, who is heading the investigation, told reporters at Stockholm's Arlanda airport.

The man, a Canadian citizen around the age of 30, was arrested for "planning to sabotage an airplane," he added.

The Pakistani International Airlines (PIA) flight was on its away to Karachi from Toronto and landed at Arlanda airport shortly after 0730 GMT.

It is now in a zone isolated from other aircraft and buildings.

A PIA spokesman told AFP some 243 passengers and 18 crew members were onboard.

"PK-782 was coming to Karachi form Toronto. As soon as the aircraft entered the European airspace it was asked by the control tower to land in Stockholm as there was some threat," spokesman Syed Sultan Hassan said.

"The pilot informed our central control here that he was landing in Stockholm," he said.

He added the suspect was "of Pakistani origin."

Stockholm police spokesman Kjell Lindgren said the suspect had been taken to the airport's police station to be interrogated.

At around 11:45 am (0945 GMT), no explosives had been found onboard, Lindgren said, but the police was still searching the plane.

"The priority is to search the plane. We have found no explosives for the moment," he said.

Many police vehicles were surrounding the airplane at midday Saturday, according to an AFP photographer.

The passengers were led inside the terminal and received food and assistance, an airport spokesman said, adding psychological counseling was on hand.

The plane's crew had been alerted to the possible presence of a bomber onboard and decided to make the emergency landing.

"A woman contacted the Canadian police and said there was a man onboard that could have explosives on him. We do not know for the moment who this woman is," Janne Hedlund of the Stockholm police told the TT news agency.

Both the airline and airport officials have said the plane would resume its journey as soon as possible.

"That will probably be tomorrow. The crew has been up and running for too long and now has to be replaced or rest," airport spokesman Jan Lindqvist told AFP.

According to Swedish law, a prosecutor has to decide if the suspect will be formally charged, kept in detention or allowed to go free.

Swedish investigators are working with Canadian police, TT reported.

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