Australia: Foiled bomb plot throws airports into chaos

Passengers are seen at Sydney’s Domestic Airportas they are subjected to increased security measures. Source: Reuters

MASSIVE queues have formed in airports across Australia amid heightened security after police foiled an alleged “Islamic-inspired” plot for a bomb attack on a plane.

Stricter screening of passengers and luggage at airports were put in place after four men were arrested over the weekend in raids conducted across several Sydney suburbs.

According to Reuters, the men are being held without charge under special terror-related powers. While unconfirmed by the Australian Federal Police, the alleged plot involves a bomb or the release of poisonous gas inside a plane.

Increased security at airports includes the screening of IDs at domestic airports. Previously, domestic passengers could self check-in without necessarily handing over IDs or tickets.

Immigration Minister Peter Dutton told reporters on Monday the alleged bomb plot could bring about tighter airport security as a long-term solution.

“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 we need to look at the security settings at our airports, particularly our domestic airports, for an ongoing enduring period.”

The country’s two major airports in Melbourne and Sydney saw queues that spilled out the door, as well as federal and state policemen walking among security lines.

A source at a major Australian carrier told Reuters airlines and airports had been instructed by the government to ramp up baggage checks. Some luggage searches are now being conducted as passengers queue to check-in their bags.

Additional reporting by Reuters