Thursday, March 08, 2007


Officials Detain Iraqi Man At LAX After Suspicious Item Found

LOS ANGELES -- Security officers detained an Iraqi national at Los Angeles International Airport early Tuesday after a suspicious item was found on ****( in ? ) the man during a body cavity search.

But a lead FBI agent said that while the item was still being examined, it posed no apparent threat.

Fadhel al-Maliki, 35, was taken aside for a search after he set off the alarm at a Terminal One passenger screening area at about 5:40 a.m, federal and airport officials said. Al-Maliki, who lives in Atlantic City, N.J., was taking a US Airways flight to Philadelphia.

He remained in custody as federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials went over his immigration paper work. Federal officials said the man's green card may have expired.

Ethel McGuire, assistant special agent in charge of the Los Angeles FBI office, said this afternoon that al-Maliki had "a magnet, wires and I don't know what the other item was. It's being evaluated as we speak." After al-Maliki was searched, the Los Angeles Police Department bomb squad was called to the airport to examine the suspicious item.

The flight took off with al-Maliki's luggage on board. The airplane was ordered to land in Las Vegas, where the passengers got off and the luggage was searched.

Al-Maliki's luggage was "clean," officials said at a news conference Tuesday afternoon at LAX. Larry Fetters, security director for the Transportation Security Administration at the airport, said the strong reaction arose from "an abundance of caution."

He said the reason security officials were so cautious was that al-Maliki was "so bizarre in his behavior."

Authorities currently have no information indicating al-Maliki has ties to any terrorist organizations, FBI official Laura Eimiller said. She said authorities so far haven't ruled out that the device could have been medical in nature.

Fetters did not elaborate.

No other flights at LAX were impacted by the investigation.

Entire Article Here.

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