An envoy from Qatar who authorities said grabbed a surreptitious smoke in a jetliner’s bathroom and then joked about lighting his shoe on fire, sparking a bomb scare and the scrambling of military jets, has been released from custody.

No explosives were found on the Washington-to-Denver flight. Authorities speaking on condition of anonymity said they don’t think the envoy was trying to hurt anyone during Wednesday’s scare and he will not be criminally charged.

Qatar’s U.S. ambassador, Ali Bin Fahad Al-Hajri, cautioned against a rush to judgment.

“This diplomat was traveling to Denver on official embassy business on my instructions, and he was certainly not engaged in any threatening activity,” he said in a statement on his Washington embassy’s Web site. “The facts will reveal that this was a mistake.”

Brown Lloyd James, a public relations firm representing the Qatar embassy, said Thursday morning that the diplomat, Mohammed Al-Madadi, had been released by authorities after questioning and was on his way back to Washington. The firm said Al-Madadi is the embassy’s third secretary.

Two law enforcement officials said investigators were told the man was asked about the smell of smoke in the bathroom and he made a joke that he had been trying to light his shoes — an apparent reference to the 2001 so-called “shoe bomber” Richard Reid.

The authorities asked not to be identified because they were not authorized to discuss the ongoing investigation.

Source: Yahoo! News AP

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