Israel boosts airport security in wake of al-Qaida plots

Security officials tells 'Post' that the Shin Bet had conducted drills to train airport security for similar scenarios in recent months.

Ben Gurion 311 (photo credit: Associated Press)
Ben Gurion 311
(photo credit: Associated Press)
The Israel Airports Authority (IAA) has made improvements to its security arrangements at Ben-Gurion Airport since the discovery last weekend of a number of sophisticated bombs aboard planes on their way to the United States.
The threat last week came in the form of explosive devices hidden in the cartridges of computer printers. Investigators have centered on the Yemeni al-Qaida faction’s top bomb-maker, who had previously designed a bomb that failed to go off on a crowded US-bound passenger jet in the US last December.
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Security officials told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday that the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) had conducted drills to train airport security for similar scenarios in recent months.
“We check and review ourselves after every incident that takes place around the world,” said a top security official involved in planning airport security in Israel. “We drill ourselves based on what we learn and sometimes make changes. In general, though, we do not prepare for the attack that happened, but prepare for the next attack that could happen.”
On Tuesday, the IAA Security Division hosted a delegation of foreign security officials from around the world for a tour of the airport. During the tour, the delegation visited the division’s command-and-control room in the airport and received briefings on the various security measures installed throughout the site, including different cameras and sensors that can provide calculations of the size of objects and their distance.
According to Israeli security officials, while there has not been a known attack against Israeli airliners in recent years, a “real threat” exists against the aviation world in general and particularly in Israel.
“It is possible that our stringent security measures create a deterrent which prevents terrorists from trying anything,” one official said. “This does not mean that we are the best in security, and we always need to keep working to ensure our level of security.”