British police detains "Venezuelan passenger" with grenade
Posted: Friday, February 14, 2003
Security concerns are focused on London Gatwick airport today after it was revealed that despite a heightened state of terrorist alert with British troops guarding key installations, luggage belonging to a "Venezuelan passenger" aboard a British Airways flight had passed through the arrival airport's X-ray screening without detection.
"In fact the hand grenade was only discovered, quite by chance, during a random check in the arrivals hall," a UK security source has told VHeadline.com ... "Gatwick security is very, very embarrassed by it all .. there are all sorts of feathers flying because of the lapse!"
British media has been quick to blame Venezuelan airport security and British Airways has reacted swiftly to ground all flights to and from Caracas until an investigation is completed ... but no one had thought to question Gatwick's security, despite the UK-based terrorist alert.
Meanwhile, Venezuela's Ambassador to London, Alfredo Toro Hardy hints that the man detained by British anti-terrorist police may have been using a false or stolen Venezuelan passport. "Our (Venezuelan) authorities are checking details but there appear to be some anomalies .. the man is definitely of Bangladeshi origin!"
Ambassador Toro Hardy rejects criticism of lax security procedures at Caracas (Simon Bolivar) international airport and insists that Venezuela maintains internationally-established aircraft loading procedures. Security at Maiquetia had already been on a heightened security alert of its own because of the current political-economic crisis and responsibilities are strictly observed from passage through check-in, baggage loading and all stages through the aircraft's lift-off to its final destination from Caracas.