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Employee Arrested with Bomb at Paris Airport - 2002-12-30


A baggage handler at Charles De Gaulle Airport outside Paris has been arrested after police found what is described as a bomb that was ready to be detonated. Media reports in France say a hijacking may have been averted.

The baggage handler, Adberrazaq Besseghir, was arrested by police at the airport when he went to his car at the end of his work shift.

Police reportedly found an automatic weapon and a machine gun, five sticks of plastic explosives and two detonators in the car. Police sources are quoted as saying the explosives were ready to use.

The police were reportedly alerted to the car after a passerby saw one of the weapons inside it.

Mr. Besseghir, a 27-year-old Frenchman of Algerian origin, had a security clearance that gave him access to airport runways and freight areas. He is being interrogated by police but has said nothing about why the weapons and explosives were in his car.

The freight company that employed Mr. Besseghir said he did not have a criminal record, otherwise he would not have been given a security clearance. Police have taken the suspect's father, two brothers and another family member into custody for questioning.

According to the police, there is no evidence so far linking Mr. Besseghir with Islamic militants but they will be looking for any links. In the last two weeks they have arrested nine people they say are militants with a connection to Chechen fighters. They have also confiscated bomb-making materials in at least one apartment in the Paris suburbs.

Because of concerns that there could be terrorist attacks during the holiday season, France has put an extra 1,000 police and soldiers on the streets of the capital.

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