AVIATION Missile protection recommended

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A commission of aviation experts convened by President Bill Clinton following the crash of TWA 800 last summer is to recommend fitting commercial airliners with anti-missile devices to help protect them against terrorist attack.

A draft of the commission's report, which should be officially published next week, includes a call on the US government to "prepare for use of surface-to-air missiles by terrorists", among other sweeping recommendations on improving flight safety.

The possibility of a missile attack was seriously considered by investigators into the TWA crash, following eyewitness reports of a streak of light touching the plane before it fell. But the theory has fallen from favour, with an explosion in a central fuel tank now seen as the likely cause.