Terror alert over backgammon set on plane

Israeli travellers sparked a security alert on an aeroplane this week – over a board game.

The US Airways flight between New York and Phoenix was diverted to St Louis on Tuesday. According to news site KSDK the three men were of Russian descent and spoke poor English.

Flight staff became concerned after the men changed seats during the flight and because one was not at his seat during take-off. They raised the alert when the one of the men took a black case from his hand-luggage.

It later transpired that the box was nothing more than a backgammon set.

The men were questioned by FBI agents but the agency refused to go into any more detail about what happened.

The incident, two days after the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, followed the case of an Arab-Jewish woman who was handcuffed and locked up when she raised suspicions on a flight to Detroit.

Last updated: 3:30pm, September 14 2011