TEL AVIV (Oct. 6)
The discovery of about a half kilo of explosives and two electric detonators in the false bottom of a suitcase left behind by an unknown traveller put Ben Gurion Airport on the alert today and set off an intensive investigation by police and security officials to trace the owner of the suitcase. The discovery coincided with a security drill at the airport which closed down the terminal for several hours today.
The suitcase, which contained no identification or markings, was noticed by porters on one of the terminal’s conveyor belts after all the other luggage had been picked up. It was removed to a safe place where police discovered the explosives and detonators in a cardboard double bottom. Police officials speculated that the carrier abandoned the suitcase after noting the thorough inspection given by customs and security officials to the baggage of incoming passengers. Another assumption was that the suitcase was intended for delivery to an unknown hostile group in Israel.
The police have lists of all passengers who landed at Ben Gurion Airport yesterday and today and are trying to locate them for questioning. But the owner of the suitcase is believed to have entered the country on a false passport and the chances of tracing that person are slim. The security drill, which took place as scheduled, simulated potential situations arising from bombings or explosions inside the airport area. Air Force Phantom jets participated in the exercise.
Meanwhile, a lull in the civil strife in Lebanon brought a renewal of terrorist activity along Israel’s northern border. An Israeli patrol came under bazooka and small arms fire near Manera last night. The fire was returned. There were no Israeli casualties. The incident was the first near the Lebanese border in nine days.