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L.A. Airport Terminal Evacuated

March 4, 2002

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ Security screeners at Los Angeles International Airport noticed a suspicious package early Monday, prompting the evacuation of hundreds of travelers. A source said the item turned out to be a fake grenade intended as a joke gift.

The bomb squad was called and one person was taken into custody, said Tom Winfrey, spokesman for Los Angeles World Airports. No other information was immediately available from police.

Screeners spotted the suspicious item in a box as it passed through a scanning machine for departing passengers, Winfrey said. An upper-level ticketing area between two terminals was evacuated, but the lower level remained open.

A government official in Washington, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the screener spotted the outline of a grenade inside a gift package in a bag. The grenade was a fake _ a gag gift, the official said. The passenger involved was being questioned.

Hours after the 5:45 a.m. evacuation, hundreds of passengers remained stranded outside Terminals 2 and 3, waiting for ticketing and flights to resume.

Some departing flights were delayed. The affected terminals serve Alaska, America Airlines, Horizon, TWA, Air China, Air Canada, Hawaiian Air and Northwest airlines, among others.

On Thursday, an unplugged metal detector triggered the evacuation of five LAX terminals, delaying 400 flights and forcing about 10,000 passengers to be rescreened.


Associated Press writer Sonya Ross contributed to this story from Washington.

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