Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Yemini man yells 'God is great', pounds on cockpit prior to landing

On Sunday, a man with a Yemeni passport ran towards the front of the plane 20 minutes before landing and began yelling and banging on the cockpit door. Passengers report the man, identified as Rageh Almurisi, 28, yelled "God is great" in Arabic. Almurisi was subsequently tackled to the ground by a flight attendant, with help from a former Secret Service agent and retired police officer who happened to be on-board American Airlines flight 1561 from Chicago to San Francisco.

Larry Wright, the ex-cop who took him down, said he was sure Almurisi intended to crash the plane. Still, others prefer to believe he mistook the cockpit for the bathroom.

Almurisi now faces one count of interfering with a flight crew, a charge that could lead to up to a maximum of 20 years in prison. On Friday the court will decide if he can be released on bail.

On Sunday there were two other incidents of flight security scares. A continental flight from Houston to Chicago was forced to land in St. Lois after an Illinois man tried to open a door near the front of the plane. And a Delta flight from Detroit to San Diego was diverted to Albuquerque because of a "security threat".

Meanwhile, in an similar vein, flights landing in or departing from Tel Aviv were diverted to Cyprus or Jordan after Israeli fuel supplies were found to be contaminated by bacteria.

If I were a conspiracy theorist, I would say that governments are trying to scare passengers and thereby reduce the frequency of air travel, as a result of rising oil prices worldwide, in the wake of Middle East unrest and the uncertainty regarding the future of Libya's oil. One way or another, these days, a safe flight is not to be taken for granted.

Of course these incidents could very well be the first wave of revenge after the killing of Osama bin Laden last week. It is yet to be told if global terror will surge or subside in the wake of bin Laden's takeout. According to Rav Moshe Wolfson of Yeshivat Torah V'Daas brought to us by Rabbi Lazer Brody, bin Laden's fall signals the immanent fall of Yishmael. And the fall of Yishmael signals the approaching redemption, hinted to by the fact that bin Laden died on the last day of what will be Pesach Moshiach--the seven days of rejoicing that will be added on to Passover to celebrate the miracles of our final redemption. 

Amen ken yehi ratzon

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