An airport security manager put a pipe bomb into her pocket after it was seized from a passenger’s luggage1, a court has heard. The “crude improvised explosive device” was found in the zip lining of the hand luggage of Nadeem Muhammad2, 43, as he went through security at Manchester Airport3 on 30 January. Security terminal manager Deborah Jeffrey told his trial at Manchester Crown Court she was called over by an officer at the security area of terminal three after the device, made of batteries, masking tape, the tube of a marker pen and wire, was discovered inside Muhammad’s small green suitcase.
She said she was told the item had been swabbed and no trace of explosives had been found so she put it into the pocket of her jacket. She said: “I popped it into my pocket.
“I put the item into my pocket so it wouldn’t go missing.”
Ms Jeffrey, who has worked at the airport for 19 years, said she later put it through an X-ray machine but could not see a detonator and did not believe it was viable. The device was later passed to counter terrorism police and, when examined by experts, found to be a “potentially viable” bomb containing nitroglycerin and nitrocellulose.
Ms Jeffrey said she had been “shocked” to see the object, which was spotted by security officers when Mr Muhammad’s small green suitcase went through scanners at the airport. She said: “I thought ‘my God, what is it?’
“There are strange things people carry in their bags but I’d not seen anything like that before.”
She said she had asked Mr Muhammad how the object got into his case and he said he didn’t know and claimed someone else may have put it there. She said: “He was just very calm and just sat, just calm and quiet.”
He returned to the airport on February 5 and flew to Italy. It was only when the device was examined by a forensics officer on February 8 that suspicions were raised and the bomb squad was called. Mr Muhammad, who was born in Pakistan but had an Italian passport, was arrested when he returned to the UK on February 12.
Parts of the improvised explosive were shown to the jury on Tuesday. The court heard the device could have been detonated if action was taken to connect wires seen protruding from it. In a report which was read to the court, forensics expert Lorna Philp said the bomb would have had the potential to cause injury to people and damage to property if detonated.
She said the person who detonated the bomb would have had to be very close to the device to connect the wires, putting themselves at greatest risk of injury. Mr Muhammad, of Tinline Street, Bury, denies possession of explosives with intent to endanger life or property and an alternative charge of possession of explosives under suspicious circumstances. The trial was adjourned until Wednesday morning, when the defence case is due to start.
Stricter screening of passengers and luggage at Australian1 airports will stay in place indefinitely after police foiled an alleged “Islamic-inspired” plot to bring down a plane, which local media said may have involved a bomb or poisonous gas. The ramped up security procedures were put in place after four men were arrested at the weekend in raids conducted across Sydney2. The men are being held without charge under special terror-related powers.
The Australian Federal Police would not confirm media reports the alleged plot may have involved a bomb disguised in a meat grinder or the planned release of poisonous gas inside a plane. Australian Federal Police (AFP) Commissioner Andrew Colvin told reporters on Monday that the plot specifics were still being investigated.
“What you are seeing at the moment is making sure that there is extra vigilance, to make sure that we aren’t cutting any corners in our security, to make sure that we are absolutely focused on our security,” Mr Colvin said. Police on Monday were still searching several Sydney properties for evidence .
Pictures showed forensic-specialist officers wearing masks and plastic jumpsuits inside the properties and combing through rubbish bins outside. Immigration and Border Protection Minister Peter Dutton told reporters in Melbourne on Monday that the alleged plot to down an aircraft could prompt longer-term airport security3 changes.
“The security measures at the airports will be in place for as long as we believe they need to be, so it may go on for some time yet,” he said.
“It may be that we need to look at the security settings at our airports, in particular our domestic airports, for an ongoing enduring period. Australian police thwart terror plot to bring down plane
Mr Dutton advised passengers to arrive at airports three hours before international flights and two hours for domestic flights in order to clear the heightened security.
Inter-state travellers are subjected to far less scrutiny than those travelling abroad with no formal identification checks required for domestic trips. Passengers at major Australian airports, including Sydney, experienced longer-than-usual queues during the busy Monday morning travel period. A source at a major Australian carrier said airlines and airports had been instructed by the government to ramp up baggage checks as a result of the threat, with some luggage searches now being conducted as passengers queued to check in their bags.
Australia Federal Police officers patrol the security lines at Sydney’s Domestic Airport (Reuters)
Counter-terrorism4 police have conducted several recent raids, heightening tensions in a country that has had very few domestic attacks. On Monday, three males pleaded guilty in the New South Wales state Supreme Court to “conspiracy to commit acts in preparation for a terrorist act or acts” in 2014, a court spokeswoman said, while another two pleaded guilty to lesser charges. Police previously said the men planned an attack on targets which included the AFP headquarters in Sydney, along with civilian targets .
The offences are not related to the alleged plane bomb plot.
The 2014 Lindt cafe siege in Sydney, in which the hostage-taker and two people were killed, was Australia’s most deadly violence inspired by Isis militants.
Derek Harvey, a former analyst for the Defense Intelligence Agency, had been a key player in the Trump administration s Iran policy review and had been helping to develop the US’s approach toward foreign policy in Syria, Iraq and other regional hotspots . He had been viewed as one of Mr Trump s more hawkish foreign policy advisers particularly on Iran. In an emailed statement to The Atlantic, Mr Harvey confirmed he was leaving and praised Mr McMaster: I have known LTG H.R . McMaster for many years, and H.R . and I have worked closely together to tackle some of our nation’s most difficult challenges . I value our friendship and deeply respect his visionary leadership . I look forward to working with H.R .
in my future capacity. Mr Harvey had a relationship with Mr McMaster that dated back to their service as advisers to General David Petraeus in Iraq during the 2000s, according to Politico.
General McMaster greatly appreciates Derek Harvey s service to his country as a career Army officer, where he served his country bravely in the field and played a crucial role in the successful surge in Iraq, and also for his service on Capitol Hill and in the Trump administration, said NSC spokesman Michael Anton . The administration is working with Colonel Harvey to identify positions in which his background and expertise can be best utilized.
Mr Harvey had been brought into the Trump administration by ousted National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, who resigned in February after it was revealed that he misled Vice President Mike Pence about his contacts with a Russian official. Since taking on the role of national security adviser, Mr McMaster has removed several staffers hired by his predecessor, including former deputy national security adviser KT McFarland. Mr McMaster has also reportedly tried to push out Ezra Cohen-Watnick, the senior director for intelligence coordination, but the President is said to have personally saved Mr Cohen-Watnick’s job.
The dismissal of Mr Harvey comes in the same week as Mr Trump s reported refusal to sign off on Mr McMaster’s plan to send more US troops to Afghanistan, with members of the President s cabinet apparently split on how to approach the longstanding war in the country.