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The Modern IED: Design and Trends

The Modern IED: Design and Trends

The Improvised Explosive Device (IED) has been around for many years, and the design can typically be categorised based on type and the components…

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BY PHILIP BAUM

EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

Australian Plots, British Blunders and American Trailblazing: but would you deny boarding in the absence of evidence?

In these northern hemisphere summer months, aviation security-related incidents and issues seem to be a constant fixture in the news headlines. The debacle over the restrictions on laptops and other personal electronic devices (PEDs); a terrorist plot against an airliner departing Australia; the trial surrounding the alleged intended detonation of a pipe bomb on board a Ryanair flight to Italy in January; the astonishing revelation that the same pipe bomb,…

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Air Watch

3 JULY 2017: HILLSBORO, OREGON

Holden Gorka, 25, attempted to commandeer a helicopter at gunpoint as a flight instructor and a student were preparing to take off. Gorka was fatally shot by a police officer after he abandoned his plan to seize the aircraft and attempted to run into a nearby field.

18 MARCH 2017: LAHORE, PAKISTAN

An Ethiopian Airlines flight, en route from Addis Ababa to Beijing, diverted to Lahore after a suicidal male passenger tried to enter the cockpit by force. The assailant was extremely violent, making it difficult for the crew and passengers to restrain him. However, a Chinese bodybuilder, Cao Guoxiong, managed to overpower the hijacker. Reports indicate that the captain exited the flight deck and assisted Cao in applying restraints.

23 DECEMBER 2016: LUQA, MALTA

Moussa Saha and Ahmed Ali, both in their 20s, hijacked an Afriqiyah Airways on a domestic flight between Sabha and Tripoli in Libya. The two Libyan men were armed with imitation guns and grenades, and allegedly intended to divert the plane to Rome to seek asylum and to start a new political party called ‘The New Fateh’ in honour of the late dictator, Muammar Qaddafi. Due to fuel limitations, the crew landed in Malta instead. None of the 116 people on board was injured, and the hijackers surrendered after a standoff on the runway.

29 MARCH 2016: LARNACA, CYPRUS

Seif Eldin Mustafa hijacked EgyptAir flight MS181 whilst it was en route from Alexandria to Cairo. Remaining at the rear of the cabin throughout the incident, he showed the crew that he was wearing what appeared to be a suicide vest. Accordingly, the crew elected to follow his request to divert to Cyprus, where he eventually surrendered. During the negotiations, he demanded to speak with his ex-wife who was resident in Cyprus. Initial reports indicate that he was suffering mental health issues.

27 NOVEMBER 2015: SAO PAULO, BRAZIL

A man dressed as Santa Claus hijacked a helicopter, leaving the pilot, who worked for an air taxi service based at Campo Marte airport, tied up at a farm outside Sao Paulo. A second hijacker joined the festively dressed thief at the farm, and the two men and the helicopter disappeared.

28 JULY 2017: NOVOROSSIYSK, RUSSIA

A drunk pilot reportedly landed a helicopter in a car park near a university. He was carrying passengers at the time but no-one was injured. The pilot was arrested and banned from flying for three years.

28 JULY 2017: SETIF, ALGERIA

An Air Algerie captain reportedly allowed a child, allegedly an orphan, to enter the cockpit and then take the controls for a period during a flight from Algiers to Setif. A video of the incident, taken by crew, was released on national TV and the captain was arrested.

28 JULY 2017: MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA

In the latest example of airline mismanagement, Clay Travis and his family were denied boarding a Delta flight home to Nashville after they discovered their six-year-old son had head lice while on the first leg of their journey from Paris to Minneapolis. They were escorted off the plane by medical staff and their child was forced to submit to medical checks in the airport lounge before being told they would not be able to take their next flight home.

27 JULY 2017: FORTALEZA, BRAZIL

It was announced that the Lufthansa plane, ‘Landshut’, that was hijacked by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and flown to Somalia in 1977 will be dismantled and flown to southern German where it will be restored and exhibited at the Dornier Museum. It was in service until 2008 and is currently in Fortaleza, Brazil.

24 JULY 2017: NEW YORK, NEW YORK

An Endeavour Air pilot, 54, is alleged to have verbally abused a female member of cabin crew, aged 26, while their flight to Maine was waiting to take off from La Guardia. The argument, which occurred in the aisle of the plane, became so heated that police were called to remove the pair; replacement crewmembers had to be found.

31 JULY 2017: MANCHESTER, ENGLAND

Nadeem Muhammad, 43, appeared in court in connection with an incident on 30 January in which he attempted to smuggle a pipe bomb on board a Ryanair flight to Bergamo. At the time, the device was confiscated but not thought to be viable (in fact, the security manager, Deborah Jeffrey, placed the item in her pocket where it remained for three days), Muhummad was not deemed a threat and allowed to fly a few days later on 5 February. On the 8 February, the device was examined again and it was found to be a “crude but potentially viable improvised explosive device”, and Muhammad was arrested upon his return to the UK. Muhammad denied in court that he attempted to smuggle explosives onto a flight, and claimed that someone else may have placed them in his luggage.

26 JULY 2017: PAISLEY, SCOTLAND

It was reported that John Armour, 28, was fined £585 after pleading guilty to charges under the Civil Aviation Act. His defence claimed a panic attack led him to behave erratically on a Thomas Cook flight from Tenerife to Glasgow in February.

23 JULY 2017: NEWCASTLE, ENGLAND

Joe Scott, 30, was fined £575, ordered to pay £85 costs and a £57 victim surcharge in connection with an incident on an easyJet flight from Bristol to Newcastle on 5 May. Scott became drunk, urinated on items being stored for landing in the toilet, and then barged past a member of cabin crew as he left the aircraft, despite being told to remain by the captain.

23 JULY 2017: DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES

A 33-year-old Yemeni man was jailed for inappropriately touching a female airport worker while she waited at a fast food outlet counter at Dubai International in February. The man was reported to have been drunk at the time; he faces a second trial for alcohol consumption and will be deported to Yemen at the end of his sentence.

21 JULY 2017: CHICAGO, ILLINOIS

Mediha Medy Salkicevic, 34, a Bosnian refugee who worked at O’Hare and who was accused of aiding ISIS in 2015, claimed as her defence that she was engaging in ‘legitimate’ warfare and therefore should be immune from prosecution.

24 JULY 2017: MOUNT HAGEN, PAPUA NEW GUINEA

Demonstrators protesting the early announcement of William Duma as MP broke through the perimeter fence at Kagamuga Airport and spilled oil at the end of one of the runways.

15 JULY 2017: SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA

A plot to detonate an IED on Etihad flight 451 from Sydney to Abu Dhabi was foiled after the suitcase the bomb was concealed in was deemed too heavy to check in. The case was presented for check-in by Amer Khayat who had, allegedly, been duped into carrying the device by his brother, Khaled Khayat; Amer boarded the flight but his brother left the airport with the overweight bag. On 26 July, Australia received intel regarding a separate plot involving a chemical dispersion device (using hydrogen sulphide and probably for use against a non-aviation target). Three days later, four properties in Sydney were raided by counter terrorism agencies and four men were arrested; it was then that the meat mincer device was found. Khaled Khayat, 49, and Mahmoud Khayat, 32, were charged, whilst Abdul Merhi and Khaled Merhi were later released. The explosives had been shipped to Australia by air cargo from Turkey.

13 JULY 2017: JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA

Police were involved in a shootout with four men outside OR Tambo International after attempting to pull their vehicle over on the highway. Police arrested the four and their unlicensed firearms were confiscated.

6 JULY 2017: PHNOM PENH, CAMBODIA

Keo Phirum, 25, attacked a driver with a cleaver as he waited to pick up passengers at Phnom Penh International Airport. The motive for the attack is unclear, but it is thought Phirum was suffering from mental illness. The driver, Keo Sitha, 51, survived.

2 JULY 2017: DAMASCUS, SYRIA

Two car bombs were discovered and safely detonated by security teams on the road leading to Damascus’ airport. A third exploded in central Damascus reportedly killing 20 and wounding dozens more.

25 JULY 2017: ALGIERS, ALGERIA

A Turkish Airlines flight to Casablanca diverted to Algiers after a female passenger told cabin crew that she was in possession of an explosive device. The passenger was arrested.

21 JULY 2017: CAIRO, EGYPT

An Egyptair flight to Athens was delayed for two hours after a note was found pasted to a seat that read, “Wanted since 2002 alive or dead”.

5 JULY 2017: LOIU, SPAIN

A bomb threat was made to air traffic control targeting a flight due to land at Loiu. Passengers were evacuated and flight delayed but nothing suspicious was detected during searches of the aircraft. The hoax caller was identified and arrested nine days later.

1 AUGUST 2017: SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA

A 17-year-old male passenger is alleged to have opened an emergency exit over the wing of a Copa Airlines plane as it landed in San Francisco and jumped onto the tarmac. The boy was detained by airport construction workers working nearby and handed over to police. He was not injured.

30 JULY 2017: REGINA, CANADA

A 40-year-old man said to be relocating from Ontario to Alberta became drunk and unruly on his WestJet flight, causing a diversion to Regina.

29 JULY 2017: LAS VEGAS, NEVADA

A Spirit Airlines flight to Oakland, California, was delayed after a male passenger removed his clothes during boarding and approached a member of cabin crew. The incident was deemed a medical episode.

27 JULY 2017: ALICANTE, SPAIN

A group of women flying with Ryanair from Liverpool to Alicante for a hen do were removed by police upon landing after becoming drunk and aggressive during the flight.

29 JULY 2017: NICE, FRANCE

An airport worker believed to work for Samsic, a company that provides assistance to disabled travellers, was reported to have punched a British man in his 20s while he was holding his 9-month-old infant. The man was waiting for a delayed easyJet flight to London Luton, and passengers who witnessed the incident claimed it was unprovoked.

27 JULY 2017: SHENYANG, CHINA

A Chinese woman in her 40s, named as Li, repeatedly slapped a male airport worker and smashed a computer after being told that her flight to Changsha was cancelled following a five-hour delay. She was fined CNY 200 (c. £22) and detained for 10 days.

16 JULY 2017: GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

A 40-year-old man was stopped by police after he was recognised on video surveillance as being the perpetrator of a mobile phone theft at Cointrin Airport the previous week. Upon his arrest, 21 items were found on his person, which he confirmed had all been stolen. These included a computer, a purse, clothes, earphones, earrings, mini speakers, perfume, sunglasses and a watch.

14 JULY 2017: CUSCO, PERU

Protestors carried out acts of vandalism at Alejandro Velasco Astete International Airport as part of ongoing teachers’ strikes.

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