El Al finds UN military equipment on Toronto-TA flight

Security not informed of shipment intended to reach UN forces located in the Sinai.

EL AL Plane 311 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
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.
The shipment, which was scheduled to be loaded on to an El Al passenger flight on Monday evening, was immediately turned over to local authorities. It was later learned that the shipment was intended to reach UN forces located in the Sinai, only El Al security was not informed ahead of time of the shipment’s content and therefore could not allow it on to the flight.
Police officers who responded to a call from the cargo terminal told Canadian reporters that the package actually contained an assortment of military training devices that posed 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. “Nobody 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 Customs courier, but police could not confirm the equipment’s final destination.
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 everything else that boards an El Al flight, from the passengers to the food, is carefully inspected before being loaded on the plane.
“The cargo usually arrives at the El Al warehouse several days before the flight is scheduled to leave. The cargo is checked in the same way that the passengers and their luggage is checked. Security officers make sure they know who sent the shipment, who packed it and who is expecting it on the other end. Like the passengers’ luggage, every cargo shipment is examined to make sure that it contains no weapons.
“Security officers use technological instruments like xrays and sniffers [trained dogs] to make sure there are no traces of explosives in the shipment and after making sure that the shipment is ‘kosher,’ it is kept under locks, or direct supervision until it boards the plane,” said R.