US to send Qatar diplomat who set fire to his shoe back

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Washington, Apr 9(ANI): The United States has told the Qatar Government that it would declare diplomat Mohammed Al-Madadi persona non grata if Qatar did not remove him from U.S. territory for setting fire to his shoe on a flight to Denver.

Al-Madadi caused mid-air panic after he smoked a cigarette and joked he was trying to light his shoes during a flight flying from Washington National Airport to Denver International on Wednesday night.

US air marshals arrested him after the plane landed at Denver for allegedly attempting to light a "shoe bomb".

After questioning Al-Madadi on the ground and finding no explosives, authorities said there had been no offense beyond illegal smoking, a charge from which he is immune because of his diplomatic status, The Washington Post reports.

Officials said he had been smoking a small pipe in the plane's bathroom.

The 27-year-old has full diplomatic immunity, as he is Third Secretary and Vice-Consul at the Qatar Embassy in Washington.

The incident came three months after the attempted terror attack on Christmas Day last year, when a Nigerian man tried to blow up a Detroit-bound airliner.

Following the incident the U.S. had increased aviation security, aviation terrorist alert levels have been raised and marshals have been added to more flights. (ANI)

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