Two passengers were detained at Ben-Gurion International Airport on Monday after security staff uncovered an attempt to smuggle ammunition and drugs onto an Uzbekistan Airways flight to Tashkent. Officials are investigating whether the passengers intended to hijack the plane.
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A spokesman for the Israel Airports Authority said that at 11:30 A.M., the security check of a passenger and his hand luggage revealed a gun magazine loaded with bullets, hidden inside a toy. The moment the passenger realized the magazine had been discovered, he tried to flee and was arrested a few minutes later by security guards. The passenger was due to board Uzbekistan Airways’ HY 302, which was scheduled to take off from Tel Aviv at 1:55 P.M.
During the preliminary inquiry, the passenger – a 36-year-old Israeli citizen, who lives in the center of the country – said he had received the hand luggage from a female passenger whom he didn’t know. She had asked him to take the bag onto the plane because she had excess baggage, the man claimed.
Due to the security incident, the flight and passengers were delayed and the episode treated as a serious security incident. All the passengers’ checked baggage and hand luggage were sent for a thorough inspection, during which drugs and rifle bullets hidden in dolls and toys were found in the suitcase of one of the passengers, an Uzbek woman who was pointed out by the detained passenger.
Security forces and the Israel Police were called in, and the suspects are now being held by the Israel Police. The plane and passengers underwent another security inspection and a preliminary inquiry took place. The flight has yet to take off for Tashkent.