December 4, 2008 8:30:21 pm
Airports across the country were on Thursday put on high alert in the wake of intelligence reports that terrorists from Pakistan or Afghanistan may strike using a hijacked airport even as the Indian Air Force said it is prepared to counter a 9/11 type aerial attack on New York.
Passengers were frisked and baggage checked thoroughly and additional paramilitary and police personnel deployed especially in Delhi, Bangalore and Chennai airports in the light of reports the government has received that terrorists may target them by hijacking an aircraft around the anniversary of Babri Mosque demolition on December 6.
“This (report about terrorists carrying out a possible aerial attack) is based on a warning which has been received (by the government). The reports, which came close on the heels of the Mumbai terror siege, also spoke of possibility of aircraft being hijacked by terrorists” IAF Chief Fali Homi Major said.
Authorities have deployed additional contingents of CISF and police inside and outside the Delhi airport.
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Over 300 armed guards with assault rifles took up position in and around Chennai airport. The first corridor in front of the airport, used for parking of vehicles, was closed to traffic as CISF personnel patrolled the area.
The movement of visitors was restricted and only passengers were allowed by a separate entry and additional metal detectors were installed.
Hundreds of CISF were deployed at Bengaluru International Airport and machine gun bunkers set up at the entrance.
The threat of a bomb blast spurred authorities to further beef up security at Coimbatore airport by deployment of bomb detection and disposal squad and sniffer dogs in and around the place.
Sniffer dogs have been deployed at most airports, while security personnel in plainclothes were also keeping a tight vigil. Marshals were being put on planes flying on sensitive routes, the sources said.
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