Kazakh official's bid to hijack plane foiled

A Kazakhstan official with Unesco was restrained by the crew on a flight from Paris to Rome after he threatened a female flight attendant with a knife and demanded that the plane be diverted to the Libyan capital of Tripoli.

The suspect, Valery Tolmachyov, a member of Kazakhstan's delegation to Unesco, was given a tranquilizer and handed over to police after the Alitalia flight landed at Rome's Fiumicino Airport at 20.05 GMT on Sunday. There were 131 people on board.

No one was injured during the attempted hijacking. Kazakhstan's foreign ministry said it was looking into the incident. It is not clear why the man wanted the plane diverted to Libya, where forces for and against Muammar Gaddafi have been fighting in a two-month conflict.

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