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El Al Personnel Praised for Foiling Terrorist Attempt

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A Swiss police spokesman praised the vigilance of El Al personnel at Zurich Airport today for failing an attempt to blow up a Tel Aviv-bound Israeli airliner with 47 aboard on Monday. The spokesman, Ulrich Hubacher, referred to the insistence by El Al employes that the suitcase of a suspected bomb-carrier be inspected a second time after an initial police search found nothing.

The suspect, who was carrying a forged passport, was identified as Andreas Rook, 26, a West German who is well known to both German and Swiss police, having served 31 months in prison in Berlin for bank robbery. Rook was booked on the El Al flight but his nervous manner aroused the suspicion of a clerk at the check in counter.

El Al security officers asked the police to search his suitcase because El Al is not equipped with an X-ray machine in Zurich. The second search, is which the lining was ripped out, yielded a powerful bomb attached to a device that would have detonated it when the plane reached a certain altitude.

According to initial press reports Rook was carrying a bomb and detonator taped to his body. Rook claimed after his arrest that he did not know he was carrying a bomb. The police have established, that he was given the suitcase, the passport and money by a former convict, Uwe Rabe, 32, who he knew in prison. They are searching for Rabe who is believed to know the identity of a third man involved in the plot. Israeli intelligence claims the third man is a Palestinian.

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