Katz: Reality catching up to us Photo: Ehud Zoigenberg
Minister Katz: Israel on bomb alert since Thursday
Transportation minister hints state knew about mail terror plot before it was publicly revealed Friday. 'Since Thursday Israeli representatives have been securing shipments to Israel from airports worldwide,' he says
Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz hinted Monday that Israel received warning of the intent to send bombs to US synagogues on Thursday, before the plot was revealed to the public on the following day.
"Since Thursday Israeli representatives have been on location in sensitive airports around the world, securing shipments to Israel," he said ahead of a large-scale drill at Ben Gurion International Airport.
"Reality is catching up to us, and we must prepare in order to prevent the worst of all scenarios. We are prepared to deal with a threat now recognized by the whole world. All airlines that fly to Israel are obligated to use the best security measures."
Katz says he has been trying to persuade Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to establish a national security agency, such as that operating in the US, which would "transfer the security of Israeli flights worldwide, as airlines like El Al want, to the hands of the state".
Over the weekend a mail terror plot was exposed after authorities discovered two packages sent from Yemen to synagogues in Chicago contained explosives. The plot, believed to have been devised by al-Qaeda, was revealed after precise intelligence was received from Saudi Arabia.
One of the packages was exposed in Dubai, after having been taken aboard two passenger flights, and the other in Britain. Officials believe the bombs were intended to fell the planes carrying them.
Meanwhile, Yemeni authorities say they have employed "exceptional" measures in searching all cargo leaving the country, the official Saba news agency reported Monday.