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Photo: Seya Egozy
Taba Border Crossing
Photo: Seya Egozy
'Sorry, but we blew up your laptop'
American student trying to cross from Egypt to Israel loses laptop to security check. 'Was it my peeling Arabic stickers on the keyboard?" she wonders

What possessed Taba Border Crossing security personnel to shoot an American student's laptop? Lily Sussman, an American student living in Egypt arrived at the Taba Border Crossing in late November and asked to cross into Israel. To her amazement, the security officers stationed at the crossing determined her laptop a threat to be neutralized.

 

In a blog post titled "I’m sorry but we blew up your laptop (welcome to Israel)," she details the unnerving experience, which left three bullet holes in her laptop:

 

"I was sitting on the deck overlooking the Red Sea. Israeli security officers (most who looked around 18 years old) had completed around two hours of questioning and searching me. They asked me tons of questions… and quizzed me on Judaism, which I know nothing about.

 

"Then they asked me to wait," she writes. "Since they had asked for friends and families phone numbers I assumed they might be calling to verify my answers to questions or confirm I really had extended family in Tel Aviv. An announcement played over the sound system, interrupting my break in the sunshine. First in Hebrew, then Arabic, then in English. It was something along the lines of, 'do not to be alarmed by gunshots because the Israeli security needs to blow up suspicious passenger's luggage.”


Sussman's laptop

 

"I went inside to check on my bag. I had left it unattended, where they instructed. It was still there so I went back outside.

 

The laptop, added Sussman, contained all of her work, pictures and music files – "Years of work"; adding that in no stage of the event did any of the security officers ask her to access the computer or give them the passwords.

 

"Was it my peeling Arabic stickers on the keyboard? Or something else during the questioning which set them off?" she wondered.

 

The Israel Airport Authority, which has jurisdiction over border crossings, offered the following statement: "A check performed (on the luggage) compelled security personnel to follow procedure. A police sapper was called to the crossing and executed the said procedure."

 

A Southern Police District spokesman added that, "A sapper was called by Taba Border Crossing security personnel who claimed to have a suspicious object on the premises. As part of handling this specific object, the sapper needed to use explosives."

 

Daniel Edelson contributed to this report

 

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