Terrorist threat averted in London

02.13.03

Gatwick airport’s north terminal has been shut down, and Heathrow has been placed on high alert after a man was found with a hand grenade at Gatwick:

Police have arrested a man carrying a live hand grenade at Gatwick Airport and evacuated one terminal. All flights out of the north terminal were suspended after the man – thought to be a 37-year-old Venezuelan – was detained under anti-terrorism laws.

[ . . . ]

The incident comes after days of heightened alert at Britain’s airports, especially at Heathrow where troops were called in.

The BBC’s Margaret Gilmore said she had learned that the Heathrow operation was sparked by MI5 intelligence that a group was plotting to shoot down an aircraft.

Two men were arrested near Heathrow airport under the Terrorism Act on Thursday afternoon, but police said they were held as a “precautionary measure”.

[ . . . ]

The government and police said the ongoing security alert was linked to fears that al-Qaeda could use the end of the Muslim festival of Eid, which runs until Saturday, as a trigger for an attack on London.

Reuters is reporting that the man arrived on a flight from Colombia. This comes on the same day as a plane carrying five Americans crashed in Colombia. In all likelihood there’s no relation, but it’s a strange coincidence.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Jon K 02.13.03 at 9:13 PM

I’m flying from Heathrow to Amsterdam on February 25th, not looking forward to that one as much now…..

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2 Geoff 02.14.03 at 2:59 AM

Annoying spell check here, but it’s Colombia, not Columbia…

Reply

3 segacs 02.14.03 at 4:03 AM

Thanks. Fixed.

Reply

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