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Suspicious Liquid Found at W.Va. Airport

A West Virginia airport terminal was evacuated Thursday after two bottles of liquid found in a woman's carry-on luggage twice tested positive for explosives residue, a Transportation Security Administration spokeswoman said.

Chemical tests later Thursday turned up no explosives in the bottles, said Capt. Jack Chambers, head of the State Police Special Operations unit. The airport was reopened after nearly 10 hours.

"It looks like there were four items containing liquids," said TSA spokeswoman Amy von Walter. A machine that security checkpoint screeners use to test for explosives registered positive results for two containers, and a canine team also got a positive hit, she said.

Airport manager Larry Salyers said he was told the woman was a 28-year-old of Pakistani descent who had moved to West Virginia from Jackson, Mich.

No charges were filed against the woman, who was taken from the airport by federal authorities at 5 p.m., Salyers said.

The woman was cooperative, officials said.

The woman's mother told the Associated Press that her daughter, who is four months pregnant and lives in Barboursville, W.Va., was targeted because of her nationality and Islamic headcover.

"It was not only a false alarm, it was racial discrimination because there was nothing," Mian Qayyum said, refusing to name her daughter.

"She just had water to drink because she is pregnant and she had a face wash that had a drop of bleach on it," Qayyum said from her home in Jackson.

A screener noticed a bottle in a woman's carry-on bag as she was going through security before her 9:15 a.m. flight to Charlotte, N.C., said Tri-State Airport Authority President Jim Booton.

One bottle contained a gel-type facial cleanser, FBI spokesman Jeff Killeen said.

"Anytime a prohibited item is brought to a checkpoint, then you are going to be immediately more interested in that bag," Kayser said.

The woman had purchased a one-way ticket to Detroit by way of Charlotte on Wednesday, Salyers said.

The flight was allowed to leave for Charlotte, and the terminal was evacuated at 11:25 a.m., officials said.

Commercial airline service was suspended, and about 100 passengers and airport employees were ordered to leave the terminal, Booton said.

U.S. authorities banned the carrying of liquids onto flights last week after British officials made arrests in an alleged plot to blow up U.S.-bound planes using explosives disguised as drinks and other common products.

1 comment:

lennybruce said...

'Wag the Dog' anyone? Seattle port evacuated, tri-state airport evacuated... In any case, the administration's campaign strategy for the midterms is quite clear - 'there's nothing ot fear but fear itsel so lets get folks pretty scared!

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