Suspicious package was 'dummy bomb': German minister



Suspicious package was `dummy bomb`: German minister Berlin: A suspicious package intercepted at the Windhoek airport in Namibia shortly before being loaded on a flight bound for Germany was a "dummy bomb" to test the security measures at the airport, German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere said on Friday.

A laptop bag containing batteries attached by wire to a detonator and a ticking clock wrapped in plastic sheets was a "real test" suitcase manufactured by an American company, de Maiziere told a news conference in Hamburg.

The California-based company specialises in manufacturing alarm systems, detection devices and other security equipment for a wide range of customers, including intelligence agencies around the world.

The minister said he has no information on who could have delivered the package.

A team of experts sent by Germany's Federal Crime Office to examine the suspicious package are in the Namibian capital and they are expected to provide more information about who was behind it, he said.

Media reports said American intelligence agencies, including the FBI, have been using similar devices since the terrorist attacks in New York in 2001 to test baggage and cargo security checks at various airports.

But, the US authorities have denied that they carried out the test and suggested that some African governments or Germany's intelligence service may be behind, the reports said.

De Maiziere could not say why it took so much time for the security authorities in Namibia to inform their German counterparts that the package, which was detected on Wednesday during a screening of luggage and cargo at the Windhoek international airport, was a harmless test device.

The minister ruled out the possibility that German intelligence services may have placed it.

But it will be part of the investigation, he said. The suspect package was found among the luggage of passengers of a LTU/Air Berlin flight bound for Munich.

Security officials became suspicious because it carried neither a baggage tag nor the addresses of its origin or destination.

During the screening, they found batteries attached by wire to a detonator and a ticking clock.

The plane with 296 persons on board landed safely in Frankfurt on Thursday after a seven-hour delay caused by renewed security checks of passengers and their luggage in Windhoek.

PTI