Jewish Arab blogger 'cuffed, questioned' in 9/11 flight ordeal

A half-Jewish half-Arab blogger has complained of being handcuffed and locked up after she raised the suspicions of security during a flight from Denver to Detroit on the anniversary of September 11.

Shoshana Hebshi, who has a Saudi Arabian father and a Jewish mother, was one of three passengers detained and held in custody for several hours after they appeared to be spending too long in the plane toilets.

Airline staff raised the alert and two F-16 jets were sent to follow the flight until it landed, at which point three passengers were taken away for questioning.

Ms Hebshi, who is married with twins, said she thought flying on 9/11 would be easy because people would avoid flying and so queues would be short. But she said that when she saw "what looked like the bomb squad" arrive before the flight departed she started to rethink her decision.

"Before I knew it, about ten cops, some in what looked like military fatigues, were running toward the plane carrying the biggest machine guns I have ever seen," she claimed in a blog post about the experience.

"[One] slapped metal cuffs on my wrists and pushed me off the plane. The three of us, two Indian men living in the Detroit metro area, and me, a half-Arab, half-Jewish housewife living in suburban Ohio, were being detained."

According to her account Ms Hebshi was then strip-searched, placed in a cell for several hours and a background check was done. Finally, all three were released and an FBI agent "apologised for what had happened and thanked me for understanding and cooperating".

"I feel violated, humiliated and sure that I was taken from the plane simply because of my appearance," she wrote. "I believe in national security, but I also believe in peace and justice."

A spokesman for the Detroit branch of the FBI said they were erring on the side of caution due to the date.

    Last updated: 6:30pm, September 14 2011