JetBlue passenger attacked flight attendant and tried to rush flight deck, FBI says

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An unruly JetBlue passenger was arrested for allegedly kicking and choking a flight attendant as he tried to storm the front of the plane, federal authorities said.

The altercation happened just after 5 p.m. Wednesday on Flight 261 from Boston to San Juan, Puerto Rico. The passenger, Khalil El Dhar, was arrested in San Juan and faces felony charges.

About an hour and 10 minutes before arriving in Puerto Rico, El Dhar "became angry" because he tried to make a phone call but it was unsuccessful, according to an FBI affidavit. He got out of his seat, rushed toward the flight deck and yelled in Spanish that he wanted to be shot, a flight attendant told the FBI.

The flight attendant redirected El Dahr into the area near the galley as a flight crew officer opened the cockpit door.

"El Dhar observed the door open and then grabbed the JetBlue [flight attendant] by their collar and tie with one hand while using his other hand to grab the overhead compartment to gain leverage to kick," the affidavit states. "As the JetBlue [flight attendant] was kicked in the chest, El Dhar yelled for the flight crew officer to shoot him."

Authorities said El Dhar was grabbing the tie so hard that at one point the flight attendant was unable to breathe. The flight attendant was able to loosen the tie and grabbed El Dhar to "prevent him from successfully breaching the galley area and gaining access to the flight deck."

A second flight attendant told the FBI that El Dhar was speaking in Spanish and Arabic during the chaotic altercation, according to the affidavit.

"The second JetBlue [flight attendant] stated that at one point during the incident, they were able to understand El Dhar said 'Allah' in a raised tone," it states.

It took six or seven flight crew members to restrain El Dhar using a tie and seatbelt extenders. He was restrained by his ankles and torso in a seat at the back of the aircraft until the flight safely landed in San Juan.

It's not clear if El Dhar has obtained an attorney. According to NBC Boston, he faces felony charges. JetBlue did not immediately return a request for comment on Saturday.

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