'Bomb' found headed for Berlin in Namibian airport

Air Berlin flight was delayed after a suitcase with batteries attached by wires to a fuse and a clock were found in Namibia.

November 18, 2010 13:25
1 minute read.
An Air Berlin plane

air berlin 311. (photo credit: AP (file))


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An Air Berlin flight from Namibia was delayed after police found a suitcase with a fuse in the luggage hall of the airport in the southern African nation's capital, German authorities said Thursday.

A scan showed batteries attached by wires to a fuse and a clock, Germany's Federal Criminal Police Office said.

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According to Spiegel Online, a spokesman for Germany's Federal criminal police office said that only after the conclusion of the technical criminal investigation can it be determined if the device was capable of exploding. The federal criminal police sent its agents from South Africa as well as additional experts to Namibia to support the Namibian authorities.

The suitcase was found in the luggage hall area near where those intended for the Air Berlin flight were, and the Air Berlin flight's luggage was rechecked as a precaution. All passengers on the flight had to identify their own bags, and none were found without an owner, Air Berlin spokeswoman Sabine Teller said.

Teller said she did not know whether Namibian police had determined whose bag contained the device, or what flight it was intended for.

After a lengthy delay the plane was able to leave and arrived with all passengers in Munich Thursday morning.

Concern about the possibility of international flights being targeted by terrorists rose last month when two mail bombs were discovered while being sent on cargo planes from Yemen to the US. One of them went through a German airport before being found in Britain.

The incident came as Germany already was on edge after Interior Minister Thomas de Maizier on Wednesday afternoon raised the country's terrorist threat level, saying that intelligence services had received a tip from an unspecified country about a suspected attack planned for the end of November.

De Maizier also said German authorities had gathered concrete intelligence of their own, pointing to "sustained efforts" by Islamic extremist groups to plan attacks in Germany.

"Besides the previously known findings, we now have additional, relevant indications of possible danger that security authorities agree justify our current assessment that we are now facing a new situation," de Maiziere said.

Benjamin Weinthal contributed to this report.

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