TEL AVIV, Israel (AP) _ El Al flight 106 arrived safely Thursday night and some of its 370 passengers were unaware that a woman with explosives in her hand luggage was arrested while trying to board the plane in London.
Karin Wachsman, 19, from Orlando, Fla., said she had no idea why the plane was delayed until she landed in Israel. ″I didn’t know there has been a bomb scare in London,″ she said. ″I saw a lot of policemen and police dogs around the airport in London, but I didn’t know why.″
The bomb was ″viable and would have exploded once the aircraft was airborne,″ said Commander George Churchill-Coleman, chief of Scotland Yard’s anti-terrorist squad in London. ″It is highly likely that such an explosion would have resulted in the loss of the aircraft, a Boeing 747 jet, and the ... passengers and crew.″
The flight originated in New York and stopped in London, where police arrested the woman after explosives were found in the false bottom of her bag. The arrest caused a five-hour delay, but transit passengers were not allowed off the aircraft.
Rafael Halperin, an Israeli passenger who received special permission to leave the plane for personal business described the arrest:
″She had already passed all the security checks and was right at the gate when an Israeli security agent lifted her bag and found it was much heavier than it ought to be for its size. They took the woman into a separate room where they conducted the search and found the bomb.″
London police were searching for an Arab identified as Nelar Nawaf Mansour al Hindawi, apparently the Irish woman’s boyfriend, believed to have packed the bag for her.