NEW YORK : Two men were kept from boarding a flight from Chicago to Philadelphia this week because they were speaking Arabic, one of just several incidents reflecting the paranoia sparked by the Paris attacks.

Maher Khalil and Anas Ayyad were told by a gate agent at Midway Airport that they wouldn't be allowed on the plane because a fellow passenger had overheard them speaking Arabic -- and was afraid to fly with them. Ultimately, the two friends reportedly of Palestinian origin and in their late 20s, got on the Southwest flight Wednesday night, but only after being questioned by airport security and police, called by Khalil, who told the local NBC television affiliate he didn't know what else to do.

Once on board, Khalil told NBC 5 that some passengers made him open a white box he was carrying -- filled, it turns out, with sweets.

"So I shared my baklava with them," he was quoted as saying. Contacted by AFP, Southwest Airlines declined to comment. Similar incidents have reportedly taken place on other US domestic flights in the wake of last week's attacks in the French capital that killed 130 people and have been claimed by Islamic State extremists. The group has also made threats against US cities.

Also at Chicago's Midway Wednesday, six men identified by fellow passengers as being of Middle Eastern descent were removed from a Southwest flight bound for Houston after they asked people around them to switch seats, causing a commotion, the local ABC affiliate reported.