An Iraqi man hauled off an EasyJet flight after being accused of being an Islamic extremist has been released without charge. The man in question was forced off the flight on 26 March just before takeoff after a fellow passenger on the plane in the seat next to him claimed to have seen text messages relating to the so-called Islamic State (Isis) on his phone.
After the woman alerted the cabin crew to the possible threat, all on-board passengers on the flight from Vienna to London were forced to disembark while all bags were checked by officials. According to AFP, the plane was cleared for takeoff three hours later but without the man or woman involved in the incident as they were still being questioned by law enforcement at the time.
"There was nothing suspicious found and he has been allowed to continue his journey," said Austrian interior ministry spokesman Karl-Heinz Grundboeck the day after the incident. "The only thing outstanding is a detailed analysis of his mobile phone."
High alert as tensions boil over
Europe remains on high alert following twin bombings in Brussels on 22 March which resulted in the death of over 30 people and hundreds of injuries. The Islamic State-affiliated attack occurred at an airport and a metro station and involved a coordinated spate of suicide bombings.
Now, Belgian law enforcement has launched a crackdown in order to locate the culprits of the attack – and arrests are mounting. Most recently, a prosecutors charged a man called Fayçal Cheffou for having a suspected role in the atrocity. Reports emerged that Cheffou was the man caught by airport CCTV who fled the scene after his bomb failed to detonate.
Most recently, as tensions continue to rise in Brussels, police have been forced to confront a group of roughly 400 "fascists and football hooligans" who attempted to incite trouble with a group of Christian and Muslim peace protesters on Easter Sunday. The black-clad group claimed to represent 'Fascists against Terrorism' however despite trying to disrupt an ongoing rally were quickly shut down by a swelling of riot police.