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Air France flight gets military jet escort to NYC after threat

NEW YORK -- A series of anonymous telephone threats against commercial airliners Monday, possibly from the same source, prompted searches of at least two planes at Kennedy Airport and nearly interrupted a third flight from England, authorities said.

Authorities said the searches were done as a precaution.

A law enforcement source told CBS News correspondent Jeff Pegues that there were about 10 threats made to various airlines today. Right now investigators believe the threats were made by the same individual and included bomb threats and chemical weapons threats. Law enforcement does not believe the threats are credible.

In one instance Monday morning, U.S. military jets escorted an Air France flight into New York City after someone claimed a chemical weapon was aboard the aircraft, the FBI said.

"Out of an abundance of caution, Air France flight number 22 was escorted to John F. Kennedy airport by U.S. Air Force fighter jets following a phone threat," the FBI said in a statement. "There were no incidents or hazards reported on board the flight by either the passengers or its crew. The plane has been cleared."

The North American Aerospace Defense Command confirmed to CBS News that two F15 fighter planes escorted the Air France plane after Maryland State police received the anonymous call.

An Air France official in Paris told CBS News that the warning was phoned in about one hour before the plane was due to land.

A Saudi Arabian Airlines flight also was being checked out because of another threat, authorities said.

A third threat was made against an American Airlines jet flying from Birmingham, England, to JFK while it was still in the air, said airline spokesman Kent Powell. Authorities initially told the pilot to land and taxi to a remote area away from the terminal but later radioed that the threat was not credible and cleared the plane to go to the terminal, Powell said.

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