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THE NEW PANIC: Plane Diverted To Philly After Jewish Teen Straps Prayer Device To Head

tefillin.jpgINQUIRER: A teenager strapping Jewish religious ritual prayer boxes to his head and arm caused a scare on a plane from New York to Kentucky this morning, prompting the pilot to land in Philadelphia, officials said. Authorities determined there was no threat and the 17-year-old boy and his 16-year-old sister, who live in White Plains, N.Y., were not held. Flight 3079, a U.S. Airways Express operated by Chautauaqa Airlines, was en route from New York’s LaGuardia Airport to Louisville about 8:15 a.m. when a flight attendant saw the youth putting on his tefillin, police said. Tefillin are leather boxes containing scriptures with leather straps that observant Jewish men wear on their foreheads and arm and fingers during obligatory weekday morning prayers. Philadelphia Police Chief Inspector Joseph Sullivan said the flight attendant became concerned and alerted the pilot. “It’s something they never seen before,” Sullivan said. “This is something most Americans probably have never seen before,” FBI spokesman J.J. Klaver said later. MORE

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