Belarus Blames Hamas For Ryanair Bomb Threat

Belarus Blames Hamas For Ryanair Bomb Threat

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By all (reasonable) accounts the Belarusian government hijacked a Ryanair flight traveling from Greece to Lithuania because a critic of the dictator was onboard. Belarusian air traffic controllers claimed they received a bomb threat, which the Ryanair pilots didn’t believe. When the pilots refused to believe this, a fighter jet was deployed to force them to divert.

Now that Belarus is getting some pushback from the international community, it seems there’s a new explanation for what happened. Folks, apparently this is all just one big misunderstanding, and the government has nothing to do with this!

The Belarusian government is now blaming this situation on… Hamas. According to a Belarusian government official, Minsk Airport’s email received a message from a protonmail.com email address in English, containing the following:

We, the soldiers of Hamas demand that Israel stop firing on the Gaza Strip. We demand that the European Union refuse its support of Israel in this war. It is known that participants of the Delphi Economic Forum are returning home on flight Foxtrot-Romeo 4978. There is a bomb on this flight. If you don’t meet our demands the bomb will explore on May 23 above Vilnius.

This is… bizarre on so many levels, and almost amusingly unbelievable. Like, over a day after the incident, that’s the best lie the government could come up with? Seriously? Minsk Airport — and only Minsk Airport — was emailed about a bomb onboard an Athens to Vilnius flight? I mean, at that point I think “someone’s dog accidentally sent the email” is more believable.

Interestingly a Lufthansa flight today from Minsk to Frankfurt (LH1487) allegedly also received a threat. It’s claimed by the government that an email was sent to the airport by unidentified persons about their intentions to commit a terrorist act onboard, causing the plane to be searched. The plane eventually took off after a two hour delay.

It’s not too hard to see through this. Obviously Belarus got caught the first time around, so by faking another potential issue on another plane without a political opponent, perhaps the initial incident is supposed to seem more believable?

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  1. Lorenzo Taddei

    how far was FR4978 from LT airspace? It seems to me the captain had started descended into Vilnius so he was possibly 2/3 min away from leaving BLR airspace? is there anything the crew could have done to avoid this? Do we believe for a second that a BLR mig would have shot down a civilian plane on EU airspace? that would have ended with the flattening of Minsk. I am not saying it was...

    how far was FR4978 from LT airspace? It seems to me the captain had started descended into Vilnius so he was possibly 2/3 min away from leaving BLR airspace? is there anything the crew could have done to avoid this? Do we believe for a second that a BLR mig would have shot down a civilian plane on EU airspace? that would have ended with the flattening of Minsk. I am not saying it was an easy call but apparently Protasevich was begging them not to abide. I am sure the crew had their interest at stake but is this a question worth asking?

  2. Milo

    @Aaron He was flying Istanbul-Dubai-JFK. Weird routing, but perhaps he liked Emirates before this incident?

  3. Aaron

    “was flying from Istanbul to New York on Emirates”

    Huh? Did you mean flying from Dubai to NY on Emirates?

  4. JBR

    @upstater:

    You have quite the source for your assertions, citing an "article" from moonofalabama.org.

  5. Milo

    Meanwhile, a 17-year-old Chinese dissident, who had already escaped his motherland, was flying from Istanbul to New York on Emirates when he was detained and arrested by Dubai police while in transit there on bogus charges and is now facing deportation back to Communist China.

    There was hardly a mention here. Why?

    Maybe because he was flying first class on Emirates, and everybody knows the premium cabins of the ME3 are darlings in these parts...

    Meanwhile, a 17-year-old Chinese dissident, who had already escaped his motherland, was flying from Istanbul to New York on Emirates when he was detained and arrested by Dubai police while in transit there on bogus charges and is now facing deportation back to Communist China.

    There was hardly a mention here. Why?

    Maybe because he was flying first class on Emirates, and everybody knows the premium cabins of the ME3 are darlings in these parts of the cyberspace? Whereas Ryanair...

  6. snic

    @Tom - You're right, Ryan Air is Irish, not British - my mistake. So it's an attack on the EU.

  7. Endre

    As of May 25th 9:30 AM EDT, I see active Belavia flight between Minsk(To) and Warsaw (from)
    There is a scheduled Lot flight today, but that is it for EU flights currently.

  8. Aaron

    Well, the EU is apparently going to ban all airspace to planes from Belarus, and UK has revoked Belavia's license to operate in the UK. So basically, no more Belavia flights to and from EU and UK destinations (which would also cut off non-EU destinations like Geneva and destinations in the non-EU part of the Balkans).

    The EU also recommends all EU airlines to avoid flying over Belarus.

    Definitely something Lucky needs to update us on once things are finalized...

  9. panda

    Sean Spicer is working in Minsk now?

  10. Mh

    Straight from the Russian playbook, who are supporting them.

    When accusations get levelled, create FUD by creating alternative theories. Even though ridiculous and incredible, just having a bunch of theories deflects attention, and gives them an out that 'evidence is not conclusive/no consensus.'

  11. Bratty

    Jerry - take another drag and go post on Qanon channels. You have to be an utter nitwit ... or very high to believe that drivel. And I choose you believe that you are high.

  12. Jerry

    Everyone is so mad at Belarus, but there have been hundreds of people who attended a protest on January 6 against the US government put into solitary confinement and politically persecuted right here in the USA. Also, the current opposition leader of the USA has been silenced with many in his inner circle imprisoned and he himself facing prosecution from the opposing administration.
    Belarus doesn’t sound that different after all.

  13. S

    To be honest, if all that's going to happen is statements against Belarus and not being allowed to fly over Belarus, they will be laughing their butts off.

    Like I said, nothing will happen to them because everyone knows who they are backed by and it's one of the few places the West won't and can't go up against in a serious manner.

  14. dee

    What is the status of the guy in question now?

  15. Mickey

    Hamas should sue Belarus for ruining its reputation ...

  16. Tom

    @snic - I’m not sure why this is an attack on British sovereignty at all? This was a flight from an EU country to another EU country by an EU airline (RyanAir is Irish, if that’s the confusion) from which an EU resident was kidnapped.

    It’s up to the EU to step up and do something, although well done to the U.K. government for actually trying to have a somewhat independent foreign policy these days.

  17. Leigh

    Ahhh, the news on this site is usually up-to-date, but the comments on this site are usually so sophomoric. I have no issue with venting and fun-play, but the silliness of the comments on the site is getting absurd.

    I guess that's to be expected..."blah, blah, blah" to be read ever more on all sites.

    On the other hand, maybe the UFOs/aliens will see these posts and decide it will degrade their "whatever" mental capacity...

    Ahhh, the news on this site is usually up-to-date, but the comments on this site are usually so sophomoric. I have no issue with venting and fun-play, but the silliness of the comments on the site is getting absurd.

    I guess that's to be expected..."blah, blah, blah" to be read ever more on all sites.

    On the other hand, maybe the UFOs/aliens will see these posts and decide it will degrade their "whatever" mental capacity to interact with us, and therefore move onto the next galaxy to engage or eat those beings.

    So, I will no longer scroll into the comments section, and have "fun" for those of you somehow find it informative.

  18. upstater

    If a *some* global powers set the template for interception or destruction of civilian airliners, routinely practiced extraordinary renditions, or the outrageous forcing down of the Bolivian president's plane -- one must say we reap the seeds that have been sown... A bit of history and the context for the pearl-clutchers and the NATO warmonergs and their yapping lapdogs:

    https://www.moonofalabama.org/2021/05/lukashenkos-revenge-served-cold.html

  19. John

    When it comes to Europe's last two truly authoritarian regimes, Belarus and Russia, you have to discard any notions of normal or correct behaviour when it comes to the ruthless pursuit of gov't aims. This is why I concur fully with @Steve_CC.

    I feel for the kidnap victim - we all do - but there was definitely more he could have been done to minimize risk by staying well clear of Belarus, such as...

    When it comes to Europe's last two truly authoritarian regimes, Belarus and Russia, you have to discard any notions of normal or correct behaviour when it comes to the ruthless pursuit of gov't aims. This is why I concur fully with @Steve_CC.

    I feel for the kidnap victim - we all do - but there was definitely more he could have been done to minimize risk by staying well clear of Belarus, such as flying to western Europe first then catching a flight to his final destination. People who say 'don't blame the victim' don't fully understand the mindset of the regimes like Belarus, Russia and China. They don't 'play nice and fair' and will exploit any opportunity to pounce. The kidnap victim was unwittingly banking on normal and correct behaviour as usually adhered to by countries when foreign airlines fly over their territory. It was a lapse in his judgement and the dictator took full advantage of an easy opportunity.

  20. brizone

    More akin to the incident with Evo Morales' plane in 2013 when Italy, France, and Spain closed their airspace to the flight-in-progress in order to force them to land in Vienna to refuel, where the Austrians hoped to pull Edward Snowden off the plane.

    Except he wasn't on the plane, lol!

  21. snic

    ...And now Hamas of course denies that they issued the bomb threat. Which is credible: If they actually did issue the bomb threat earlier, it was to make a very public point, so why would they now deny it?

    Belarus is really insulting everyone's intelligence. Except, they sort of aren't, because they've learned from Putin that they can get away with this sort of aggression without paying any price at all. Western nations need to...

    ...And now Hamas of course denies that they issued the bomb threat. Which is credible: If they actually did issue the bomb threat earlier, it was to make a very public point, so why would they now deny it?

    Belarus is really insulting everyone's intelligence. Except, they sort of aren't, because they've learned from Putin that they can get away with this sort of aggression without paying any price at all. Western nations need to stand up to this aggression in order to deter it. Britain should view this as an attack on their sovereignty, and get other NATO countries to see it the same way.

  22. Creditian

    What's next?? Hamas created SARS-Cov2 to revenge Israel??

  23. Luke

    I wonder how Belarus government knew this journalist was on the flight, did Ryanair share the flight manifest or something.

  24. Steve_CC

    @Leo

    Yes of course i have flown over a country like my own that issues the death penalty. That was not my point, the big difference is that this man was wanted on trail and he was facing the death penalty. I would certainly never drive through or fly over a country that i was facing any criminal chagres let alone a country that has already pressed charges against me. Im sorry but this...

    @Leo

    Yes of course i have flown over a country like my own that issues the death penalty. That was not my point, the big difference is that this man was wanted on trail and he was facing the death penalty. I would certainly never drive through or fly over a country that i was facing any criminal chagres let alone a country that has already pressed charges against me. Im sorry but this guy is an idiot for taking this risk and boarding a plane to begin with if he is a wanted man.

  25. Ran

    Once again, Palestinian islamic terrorists are terrorizing people around the world.

    If you think what happens last week in Israel is a war just imagine Europe in a few years when Muslims claim Paris as their capital city as well ;)

  26. Ole

    This is BS and they aren’t even bothered to find a plausible alternative theory.

    Belarus is at fault 100% but I agree with some comments that the journalist should have been careful with choosing the flight. However, I bet he never thought something like this will happen.

    This won’t be a popular opinion - Not blaming the victim but ultimate responsibility of personal safety lies with oneself. As a person of color, if I am...

    This is BS and they aren’t even bothered to find a plausible alternative theory.

    Belarus is at fault 100% but I agree with some comments that the journalist should have been careful with choosing the flight. However, I bet he never thought something like this will happen.

    This won’t be a popular opinion - Not blaming the victim but ultimate responsibility of personal safety lies with oneself. As a person of color, if I am pulled over I don’t argue with cops. I blindly do whatever they say, cuz if I am alive I have a chance to fight in court or at the least I still get to stay with my family.

  27. snic

    Yet another discrepancy: the alleged message from Hamas demands "that Israel stop firing on the Gaza Strip." But there was a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas effective two days before the hijacking, and news accounts indicate that it was being honored by both parties.

    Clearly this is Belarus' ridiculous attempt at blowing smoke.

  28. Dominic

    This story gets worse... I'm hearing Roman Protasevich is in the hospital already in critical condition with "heart failure."

    3 days ago another young dissident/political prisoner (Witold Ashurok) ended up in the hospital with... "heart failure" and is now dead.

  29. Leo

    @ andre
    Who was killed by novichek?

  30. Leo

    @steve

    You probably live or have flown over death penalty country too. Do you live or have visited the US?

  31. shineomatic

    Does anyone really care about Belarus??

  32. Juergen

    I visited Belarus some years ago, and it was like a time travel back to the good old days of Soviet rule. In the Museums Stalinism was still very present and no wonder the KGB never was renamed there. The President has a history of insane actions. At once he was outraged that some EU governments raised their concern about the lack of freedom in the country that he changed all the locks on the some EU member states embassies in Minsk…

  33. Steve_CC

    @Neil

    I am just point out as ridiculous as this whole story is and as ridiculous of an excuse that Belarus made, i am pointing out that it is equally ridiculous to be playing with fire like this. Im not saying he is guilty or innocent im saying its dumb to take a chance on it, and very dumb to do something that is extremely avoidable. You cant argue against that. Probably hasnt even had...

    @Neil

    I am just point out as ridiculous as this whole story is and as ridiculous of an excuse that Belarus made, i am pointing out that it is equally ridiculous to be playing with fire like this. Im not saying he is guilty or innocent im saying its dumb to take a chance on it, and very dumb to do something that is extremely avoidable. You cant argue against that. Probably hasnt even had his shots yet so another reason not to fly over a country that is trying to kill you.

  34. neil

    @Steve_CC
    That's it blame the victim. It's his fault.
    How understanding:-(

  35. Geoff

    I blame Trump, Biden, Musk and The Easter Bunny.

  36. Endre

    Killing people with nerve agent Novichok, taking over another country, shooting down plane.. Hijacking. Every time the response is “don’t do it!”

    Why do people think it will be any different now?

  37. Steve_CC

    This is all very ridiculous but how dumb are you to fly over a country where you are facing the death penalty. Why even take the risk of something actually going wrong and somehow being stuck in said country.

  38. Eskimo

    How convenient, lots of target out there for Hamas but it has to be this flight which happens to have a person of interest, who never left Belarus with the rest of the passengers. Not that this flight is full of Jewish passengers either.

    Not sure how Hamas would take this, unless Russia gives the OK to the story.

  39. ddt

    This reminds me of the grounding of Evo Morales' plane back in 2013.

  40. AJ

    World leaders fly on Ryanair!? Well, that's interesting.

    With a quick google search you'll see that the 2021 forum took place from May 10-15. Soooo.. everyone waited a week to fly home AFTER the conference?? Well, that's interesting.

    With a quick google search you'll also notice that the annual "Delphi Economic Forum (DEF) agenda discusses fake news" among other topics. Well, that's interesting.

    I just have A LOT of questions...

  41. neil

    And the Belarus authorities will confirm this was in fact the real case by not detaining Roman Protasevich.

    Sure and I've got a bridge to sell you:-(

  42. H.T.

    And just in, The Weather Channel blames Hamas for global warming and the consequent increase in sea levels. Apparently they too received an email into their inbox.

    I’m glad the world’s problems is finally being sorted by knowing who to blame.

  43. Julia

    Makes sense on Belarus’ part. People will now start arguing about Hamas/Israel and forget about what happened with Belarus, the person they practically kidnapped, and the flight diversion. I expect we will see this occur in your comment section.

Featured Comments Load all 44 comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

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Lorenzo Taddei

how far was FR4978 from LT airspace? It seems to me the captain had started descended into Vilnius so he was possibly 2/3 min away from leaving BLR airspace? is there anything the crew could have done to avoid this? Do we believe for a second that a BLR mig would have shot down a civilian plane on EU airspace? that would have ended with the flattening of Minsk. I am not saying it was an easy call but apparently Protasevich was begging them not to abide. I am sure the crew had their interest at stake but is this a question worth asking?

Milo

@Aaron He was flying Istanbul-Dubai-JFK. Weird routing, but perhaps he liked Emirates before this incident?

Aaron

“was flying from Istanbul to New York on Emirates” Huh? Did you mean flying from Dubai to NY on Emirates?

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