‘US manufactured fake bomb found on German flight was to test airport security’

Saturday, November 20, 2010

BERLIN - German interior minister Thomas de Maziere has said that a fake bomb found on an Air Berlin flight in Namibia was manufactured by a US company that specialises in alarm systems, to test airport security.

“This company is a manufacturer of alarm and detection systems and these real test suitcases are built to test security measures,” the Daily Mail quoted de Maziere, as saying.

He, however, said that it was not clear so far as to who had had planted ‘test suitcase’ in the location.

The Air Berlin flight bound for Munich took off six hours late and with no cargo after the suspicious package was found.

According to the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), it was working with the German and Namibian authorities ‘to determine the origin of the device and the reason it was being transported on the plane’.

Authorities had discovered the suitcase which contained batteries connected to a detonator and a ticking clock, at Windhoek airport on Wednesday that ultimately led to terror alerts across the world.

The threat came amid heightened concerns of terrorist threats against Germany that prompted de Maiziere to raise the country’s threat level even before the Windhoek incident, the paper said.

The paper quoted a German security spokesman as saying that security officials are preparing for the state of emergency, which could last till the end of the year. He also said that the country’s police force was facing ‘its biggest challenge in the post-war history [of Germany]‘.

He further stated that the threat to civilians was not just limited to Germany’s biggest cities like Berlin, Hamburg and Munich, and added: “So long as the Christmas markets are on, we have to expect attacks at any time, and we will protect the population with a visible presence on these markets.”

Intelligence services believe four militants were planning an attack between Monday and Thursday in the last week of November. Pakistan-based militant Ilyas Kashmiri and senior al Qaeda figure Younis al Mauretani have both been linked with the threats to Germany, , the paper added. (ANI)

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