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Belarusian investigators claim Minsk airport received two warnings about Ryanair bomb threat

On May 28, the Belarusian Investigative Committee claimed that the Minsk National Airport actually received two emails about a purported bomb on board the Ryanair flight that was forced to divert from Vilnius to Minsk. 

“It has already been established [...] that there were several messages about the ‘bomb’ on the plane received through the Swiss mail service ProtonMail at 12:25 and at 12:56. At present, recordings of the conversation with the pilots of the aircraft are being studied and analyzed in detail, and numerous other investigative actions are being carried out.”

On May 23, a Ryanair passenger flight travelling from Athens to Vilnius was forced to make an emergency landing at the Minsk National Airport. This took place following reports from the Belarusian authorities of a bomb threat on board the flight (this later proved false). Belarus sent an MiG-29 fighter jet to escort the passenger plane to Minsk.

After the landing, the Belarusian authorities detained two passengers from the plane — Belarusian opposition journalist Roman Protasevich and his girlfriend Sofia Sapega, who is a Russian citizen. The remaining passengers from the flight were allowed to continue their journey to Vilnius after a seven-hour delay. Many European countries believe the Belarusian authorities hijacked the passenger plane in order to arrest Protasevich.

Earlier, ProtonMail issued a statement saying that the bomb threat cited by the Belarusian authorities was sent after the passenger plane was diverted to Minsk. According to a transcript released by the Belarusian Transport Ministry, Belarusian dispatchers warned the Ryanair flight crew about the alleged bomb threat at 12:30 p.m. and the plane began rerouting towards Minsk at 12:45. 

The Dossier Center, which previously published an image of the email about the bomb threat, said it was sent to the “Lithuanian Airports” administration at 12:25, and to the Minsk National Airport at 12:57. 

Earlier, the Belarusian authorities claimed that the alleged bomb threat came from Hamas, but the Palestinian militant group has denied any knowledge of the message or connection to the incident. 

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