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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Turkish Airplane Hijacked

ISTANBUL -- Two men wielding a fake bomb and claiming al-Qaida ties hijacked a Turkish plane, holding passengers and crew hostage before surrendering in Antalya more than four hours later, authorities said.

The hijackers' motive remained unclear Saturday evening. One of the men was Turkish and the other was believed to be a Palestinian carrying a Syrian passport, Transport Minister Osman Gunes said. Earlier, Turkish Cypriot authorities said the men were Iranians protesting U.S. policies.

The alleged bomb turned out to be made of play dough, police sources said, CNN-Turk television reported.

The men were among 136 passengers on board an Atlasjet flight that departed from Ercan in Turkish-controlled northern Cyprus on Saturday morning, officials said. Six crew members were on the flight.

The suspects said during initial questioning that they tried to storm the cockpit shortly after takeoff, said Alaaddin Yuksel, governor of Antalya. Passengers said they failed to break the door down.

The hijackers then ordered the pilots to divert the flight to Iran. The pilots persuaded the hijackers to let them land at the Mediterranean resort of Antalya in Turkey to refuel, officials said.

After landing, the pilots left the plane through the cockpit window to prevent the hijackers from forcing them to fly the plane, said Aydin Kiziltan, chief executive of Worldfocus, the company that leased the plane to Atlasjet.