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Flight delayed as Jewish Israeli passengers refuse to fly with Palestinians

Passengers said they believed the Palestinian citizens of Israel on their flight were a security risk, but police found no evidence
The flight was delayed by more than an hour-and-a-half (AFP)

Jewish Israeli passengers prevented a Tel Aviv-bound flight from taking off on Monday evening until two Palestinian citizens of Israel voluntarily disembarked from the plane, according to Israeli media reports.

As Aegean Airlines Flight 928 was preparing to take off from Athens, a small group of Jewish Israeli passengers told the cabin crew that they believed the two Palestinians, reportedly from East Jerusalem, were a security risk and stood in the aisles so the flight could not take off, Haaretz reported.

The captain of the flight then called the airport police who reportedly checked the passengers' documents and background and found nothing wrong.

Despite assurances offered by the crew, the protest on the plane had now grown on to a much larger group, delaying the flight by more than an hour and a half until the passengers agreed to get off the flight, reported Israel Radio, quoted by Haaretz.

The protesting passengers then requested that the crew conduct another security check, but were warned by the captain that they would be removed from the plane without compensation if they continued to hold the flight up at which point they relented, Haaretz reported.

An Aegean Airlines spokesperson, quoted by Haaretz on Monday, called the event “extremely unfortunate”, and thanked the two passengers who disembarked.