EL AL Plane 311.
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
El Al security officers in Canada received a shock on Monday when a routine
cargo shipment from Toronto to Israel was found to contain what they believed to
be land mines and other military equipment.
The discovery prompted the
Peel Regional Police explosives unit to evacuate the Cargo Terminal.
shipment, which was scheduled to be loaded on to an El Al passenger
Monday evening, was immediately turned over to local authorities. It was
learned that the shipment was intended to reach UN forces located in the
only El Al security was not informed ahead of time of the shipment’s
therefore could not allow it on to the flight.
Police officers who
responded to a call from the cargo terminal told Canadian reporters that
package actually contained an assortment of military training devices
no safety threat.
“They look like the real thing, but they’re not the
real thing,” police spokesman Const. George Tudos told the Toronto Star.
was in any danger from these devices.”
Tudos said the training devices
belong to the US military and travelled to Toronto with a bonded Canada
courier, but police could not confirm the equipment’s final
El Al spokeswoman Anat Freedman told The Jerusalem Post that
there was never any fear that the equipment would be used to carry out a
terrorist attack, but that security protocols demand that any cargo
flown by El
Al be meticulously detailed and examined by security forces.
R, a former
El Al security officer in Toronto, said that cargo shipments, like
else that boards an El Al flight, from the passengers to the food, is
inspected before being loaded on the plane.
“The cargo usually arrives at
the El Al warehouse several days before the flight is scheduled to
cargo is checked in the same way that the passengers and their luggage
checked. Security officers make sure they know who sent the shipment,
it and who is expecting it on the other end. Like the passengers’
cargo shipment is examined to make sure that it contains no
“Security officers use technological instruments like xrays and
sniffers [trained dogs] to make sure there are no traces of explosives
shipment and after making sure that the shipment is ‘kosher,’ it is kept
locks, or direct supervision until it boards the plane,” said R.