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Man carrying bullets held after US-London flight
( 2004-01-15 15:27) (Agencies)

British police arrested a Sudanese man under anti-terror laws for carrying bullets at Heathrow airport Wednesday after flying in from Washington en route to Dubai.

Police originally arrested the man for firearms offenses but then said they were holding him under section 41 of the anti-terror law which refers to the "alleged involvement in the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism."

They gave no further details.

The 45-year-old man was detained after passing through a security check following his arrival on British airline Virgin Atlantic's VS022 flight.

"A quantity of suspected ammunition was found in his possession. The items are being forensically examined," said a statement from London's Scotland Yard police.

Security sources at Heathrow said the man had five bullets of two different types.

Security has been especially tight at Heathrow and other big world airports in recent weeks, with U.S.-bound flights from Britain, France and Mexico grounded amid fears of a plot by extremists to carry out another Sept. 11-style attack.

Copenhagen airport acted Wednesday to remove sharp cutlery from one of its restaurants after a journalist entered a plane with a knife almost the same size as the one that killed Sweden's Foreign Minister Anna Lindh, a Danish newspaper said.


With the U.S. administration eager to see security beefed up at other airports round the world, Wednesday's incident raised questions as to how the man managed to get past security checks at Dulles airport in Washington.

"Doubtless questions are being asked in America as to how he got through their ground security and onto the plane," said Jim McAuslan, general secretary of the British Airline Pilots' Association.

Virgin airline said in a statement: "The safety and welfare of our passengers and crew is Virgin Atlantic's top priority.

"The item seized did not pose a threat to our aircraft. Screening of passengers at Washington Dulles airport is the responsibility of the Transportation Security Administration."

The incident comes at a jittery time for the airline industry, with a string of flight cancellations and delays hitting Heathrow particularly badly.

Washington is demanding that airlines carry armed marshals on some planes and has begun fingerprinting and photographing foreigners at more than 100 airports.

McAuslan of the British pilots' group said, "We have always said that what matters most is security on the ground and that's where the government should be investing. We should not be led into a cul-de-sac of sky marshals."

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