msnbc.com news services
updated 8/10/2006 12:07:25 PM ET 2006-08-10T16:07:25

An Eritrean man fought with flight attendants aboard a Qatari Airways flight Thursday, prompting the pilot to return to Amman, a government spokesman said. He ruled out a hijacking attempt, saying a canister the man was carrying was a bottle of medicine.

Initial reports from airport security officials and a Qatari Airlines spokesman said the Eritran tried to force his way into the cockpit carrying a canister containing a liquid.

But Jordanian government spokesman Nasser Judeh told The Associated Press that it "was a quarrel and not a hijacking attempt" and that the liquid was a medicine.

Judeh said the man had tried to go to the bathroom 10 minutes after the flight took off, heading from Amman to the Qatari capital, Doha.

When the attendants told him he could not leave his seat yet, he pushed an attendant to the ground before others restrained him, Judeh said. The pilot returned the plane to Amman, where the man was detained.

Samir Samri, a passenger on the flight, said the man appeared to be about 20 years old.

After Judeh's comments and questioning the man, airport security officials confirmed the story, saying the man started screaming that he wanted to speak to the pilot to complain about the flight attendants for stopping him.

The incident came hours after Great Britain announced it had foiled a major terror plot to blow up airplanes headed to the United States from London's Heathrow Airport.

U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said the terrorists planned to use liquid explosives disguised as beverages and other common products and set them off with detonators disguised as electronic devices.

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.

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