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January 6, 2004
Saudi Arrested with Firecrackers in Boston Airport

German air security seems questionable after a Saudi man was arrested after arriving in Boston with firecrackers in his carry-on luggage:

A Saudi man was charged yesterday for having firecrackers in carry-on luggage on a plane from Germany to Boston amid United States warnings of a possible attack bigger than the September 11, 2001, hijacked plane strikes.

US officials in Boston said that Essam Mohammed Almohandis, 33, of Riyadh had "three small firecracker-type explosive or incendiary devices" in his carry-on luggage on a Lufthansa flight from Frankfurt on Sunday.

The Saudi first told authorities that the tubes in his bag were "artist's crayons," then claimed not to know what the devices were and said that his wife had packed his bag. He is being held for arraignment and faces 10 years in prison.

What could the man have done with firecrackers? Depending on the size of the charge, he could possibly have blown out a window or the cocpit door, or used it to threaten passengers in an attempt to take over an airplane. I'm not sure either plan would work, but having a Saudi sneaking explosive devices onto airplanes landing in Boston sounds pretty bad to me. One has to wonder what the Germans in airport security were doing to let him slip through.

Also, I'm wondering why I had to read about this in the New Zealand News, and not on the AP or Reuters feed on Yahoo! or other American news outlets. After all, a Saudi with explosives on board an airplane is no false alarm.

UPDATE: Apparently CNN carried this story early this morning, but it's dropped completely off the radar screen. I had to do a search on CNN's site to find the story. I guess a Saudi arrested off of an incoming flight at Boston's Logan Airport (where 9/11 flights originated) with three good-sized firecrackers in his backpack is no big deal ... The Boston Globe has this story, but didn't provide a link from the main web page:

The pyrotechnics -- yellow, cylindrical, paper-covered objects which each measured 1 1/2 inches -- throw off a shower of sparks when ignited and would not be capable of destroying a plane if used alone, according to US officials. But they are classified as explosive or incendiary devices under federal law and are prohibited on aircraft, according to a court affidavit. ... Almohandis, a married father of two who works as a biomedical engineer at King Faisal Specialist Hospital & Research Centre in Riyadh, told inspectors he was traveling alone on business when he arrived at Logan Airport on Saturday afternoon on Lufthansa Flight 422.

He has a bail hearing set for Thursday.

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at January 6, 2004 9:28 PM

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» Saudi Arrested with Firecrackers in Boston from The Daily Lemon
jeez, as much news as I was fed today by CNN, FOX, MSNBC and not to mention the internet news sites, I totally missed this. You think a arabian man carrying some explosives would warrant a news-story. I guess the... [Read More]

Tracked on January 7, 2004 1:31 AM

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