Package triggers bomb scare at Milan airport

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The Independent Online

Bomb experts destroyed a suspicious package that was found at Milan's Malpensa airport today, but officials said it contained no explosives.

Police destroyed the parcel by firing a high-pressure water cannon at it, reducing it to pieces, said Giovanni Pepe of the airport police.

The package — about 20 by 10 centimetres — was scotch-taped all around and had an antenna sticking from it. Pepe said it contained no explosives, but police were trying to determine its contents.

The parcel was abandoned in a men's bathroom in the check-in area for charter flights, said Carla Fossati of the SEA company that operates Milan's airports. Pepe said that the area is near the part of the terminal where US-bound passengers check in.

Following a botched Christmas Day attack aboard a Detroit-bound plane from Amsterdam, Italy's civil aviation authority ordered airports to tighten security for passengers leaving for the United States. Measures include increased body and baggage searches.

Today's scare caused no air traffic disruption at the airport, Pepe said. The area where the parcel was destroyed was cordoned off and passengers were taken to a different check-in area.