Female passengers flying from Qatar were subjected to invasive searches after a premature baby was found abandoned in an airport bathroom, in procedures the Australian government on Monday described as “grossly disturbing” and “offensive”. A number of women — including from Australia — were removed from their flight and examined for signs of childbirth after the baby was found in a bathroom at Hamad International in the Qatari capital. Australia’s government on Monday condemned the October 2 incident, which only came to light after Australian passengers spoke out, and said concerns had been lodged with Qatar. “This is a grossly, grossly disturbing, offensive, concerning set of events. It is not something that I have ever heard of occurring in my life,” Foreign Minister Marise Payne said. “We have made our concerns very clear to the Qatari authorities at this point,” she said, adding that the matter had also been referred to Australian Federal Police. A source in Doha briefed on the incident told AFP that officials “were forcing women to undergo invasive body searches — basically forced Pap smears,” an internal examination of the cervix. Passenger Wolfgang Babeck told AFP women returned to his flight from Doha to Sydney in a “shell-shocked” state, having been told to remove clothing from the lower half of their bodies for an examination by a female doctor. “All of them were upset, some were angry, one was crying, but basically nobody could believe what happened,” the commercial lawyer said, adding he thought the incident could be “a violation of international law”. That flight, Qatar Airways’ QR908 to Sydney, was four hours late departing Doha as a result, according to air traffic website Flightradar24. It is not clear how many flights were involved.