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things that just are

Monday, March 15, 2004

El Al Packs Some Heat for Unwitting Passenger

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - A passenger on Israel's El Al airlines got a complimentary gift on a flight home from Germany -- a pistol that security guards slipped into his suitcase, an Israeli newspaper said Sunday.

El Al personnel, the Haaretz daily reported, sometimes sneak fake guns into the bags of unwitting passengers to test if security staff can spot them. One replica went undetected and was found by the startled passenger when he unpacked at home.

Haaretz said he alerted the police and was told it was an inoperable weapon used by El Al security in training exercises.

A spokeswoman for El Al, an airline regarded as the world's most security-conscious, declined to confirm or deny the report.

"El Al uses different tactics to ensure the safety of its passengers," she said. "Beyond that, El Al does not respond to security issues. We won't detail our tactics."


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