x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

New X-ray machines at Sana'a airport

Ten new X-ray machines able to detect explosives are expected to start operating at the Sana'a International Airport today.

SANA'A // Ten new X-ray machines able to detect explosives are expected to start operating at the Sana'a International Airport today.

According to a security official at the airport, the United States provided the machines and trained the security staff at the airport on how to use them.

"[The machines] are able to detect explosives substances, including PETN," the official said on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to speak to the media. PETN, one of the most powerful explosives known, was discovered in devices emanating from Yemen found in the recent cargo plane plot.

Six of the new machines will be used for checking passengers and crew while the rest will be used to for inspecting luggage and cargo.

"Our security measures are already tight and the machines we have already are from 2005 and 2008. But, with the new ones, the security will be extra tightened," the officials said.

In the wake of the cargo plane threat, Yemen Airways flights were suspended to Germany while air freight from Yemen to Germany, the UK, Canada and Holland was also suspended, a move the government official called a "collective punishment" of the Yemeni people. Al Qa'eda claimed responsibilty for the parcel bombs.

"We are surprised by the decision of some western countries to stop cargo and flights ... We have been working closely with the British and German security for several years and they were happy about the security at our airports," the official said.

"Blaming us is a political decision as parcels went through other airports without being detected. Our security counterparts in some European countries told us it was a political decision and they promised to do their best to push towards reviewing this situation."

Under US pressure to crack down on terrorism, the Yemeni government set up a committee to review the security situation at its airports. One of the recommendations of the committee is restructuring the airport security and establishing a special airport security.

"We now check the luggage and cargo manually after they pass through the X-ray machines," the official said.

 

malqadhi@thenational.ae