Belgian Police Question Iranian over Bomb Plot Claim

Belgium investigators are questioning an Iranian man who surrendered to police claiming a stranger asked him to blow up a passenger flight from Charleroi, Belgium to Dublin, Ireland, prosecutors said Thursday

No explosives were found on the man, who was arrested after approaching police in Charleroi airport last week, said Lieve Pellens, spokeswoman for the Belgian Federal Prosecutor's Office.

"Of course we take these things seriously, we have to check (but) we have absolutely nothing to corroborate what he said," Pellens said.

She said psychiatrists were examining the man. A court in Charleroi has ordered him to be held on suspicion of preparing an attack, and he is not appealing against the decision.

Ryanair operates flights from between the Irish capital and Charleroi airport, about 50 kilometers (30 miles) south of Brussels.

Pellens said the man was well dressed, claimed to be a businessman and appeared to have traveled widely through Europe. A resident of Iran, he spoke English and a little German. She said he appeared at first to be more credible than the usual bomb hoaxers police deal with on an almost daily basis.

She said he attempted to board a Dublin-bound flight last week but was stopped by border guards at Charleroi airport and told his visa did not allow him to travel to Ireland. He then approached police at the airport and claimed another man handed him explosives and told to blow up the plane.

Police searched him and his luggage and found nothing, Pellens said. He said he had handed the explosives - consisting of a yellow material similar to children's play putty with a computer chip attached - back to the person who had approached him.

Pellens said airport surveillance cameras showed the Iranian man at the airport but did not show him meeting anybody.


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