- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 20, 2010

UPDATED:

BERLIN — Part of Munich’s airport was closed for hours Wednesday as officials searched for a man whose laptop had triggered an alert for possible explosives at a security checkpoint, police said.

Federal police said they ordered part of the airport’s Terminal 2 closed to look for the man following the incident at 3:30 p.m. (9:30 a.m. EST). Lufthansa is the primary tenant of the terminal.

An airport security instrument alerted officials to possible explosives as the man’s laptop was being checked, police said. He then hastily left the scene carrying the computer into the terminal.

The alert “doesn’t necessary have to mean that there were explosives inside,” federal police spokesman Albert Poerschke told the German news agency DAPD.

Officials wanted to check the computer again, but the man left. It was unclear whether police found him.

“We believe that the man didn’t realize there was more to come,” Mr. Poerschke said.

Several hundred people were evacuated.

Munich airport officials said the terminal reopened shortly after 6:40 p.m. and that more than 100 departures were affected by the scare. Air traffic was expected gradually to return to normal during the evening.

There have been comparable security scares this month in the United States.

A man who walked through a restricted door and set off an alarm that led to the evacuation of a terminal at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport has told police that he simply went the wrong way.

At Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey, flights were grounded for hours and passengers were rescreened while officials searched for a man who had walked through the exit of a security checkpoint.

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