Angeles International Airport steps up security after terror attack in Germany
LAX Steps Up Security
POSTED March 5, 2011 BY BNO News 0 Comments
LOS ANGELES (BNO NEWS) — Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) on Friday said it has stepped up security for U.S. service personnel who transit through the airport after a terror attack at Frankfurt Airport in Germany.
The attack happened on Wednesday afternoon when 21-year-old Arid U. opened fire on a bus carrying American soldiers, killing two U.S. airmen and injuring two others. And although U. does not belong to a terrorist organization, German prosecutors have said he carried out the attack in retaliation for the U.S.-led war in Afghanistan.
Marshall McClain, president of the Los Angeles Airport Peace Officers Association (LAAPOA), on Friday said the airport has increased its security as a result, but provided few additional details. “Though the target in Germany was clearly the U.S. military, terrorists’ targets can just as easily be civilians as they most recently were in Moscow. It’s our job to thwart such attacks,” he said.
McClain noted that, with Los Angeles Air Force Base (LAAFB) nearby, U.S. service members regularly pass through LAX. “LAAFB in El Segundo is the only active duty base in the Los Angeles area,” he said. LAAFB is home to the Space and Missile Systems Center and 61st Air Base Group.
“With violence on the rise throughout the Middle East, Northern Africa and Europe and the U.S. military engaged in two wars, U.S. travelers around the globe are being asked to stay vigilant and to notify police when they notice something strange,” an alert from the Los Angeles Airport Police (LAXPD) said. It said reporting suspicious activity works to prevent threats from ever reaching the airport.
“Our first line of defense is to apprehend terrorists in the planning stages before they’re ready to actually carry out their mission. We do this by sharing intelligence with local, state and national agencies,” McClain said.
The LAXPD says it trains its officers on the tactics and methods used by contemporary terrorists, both foreign and home-grown. This includes the various steps that lead up to an attack, such as target acquisition, pre-attack surveillance and supply procurement. Airport police officers work as Terrorism Liaison Officers (TLOs) and its detectives are assigned to both the Los Angeles Joint Regional Task Force (LAJRIC) and the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force.
The last terrorist attack at Los Angeles International Airport happened on July 4, 2002 when Egyptian-American Hesham Mohamed Hadayet opened fire at an El Al ticket counter, killing two people and injuring four others. Hadayet himself was killed in the attack, which officials said was over the U.S. support for Israel.
Prior to that, three of the four planes used as part of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks were originally heading for Los Angeles. In addition, al-Qaeda terrorist Ahmed Ressam attempted to bomb Los Angeles International Airport on New Year’s Eve 1999.
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