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Hijack threat puts Mumbai, Hyderabad, Chennai airports on high alert

According to the report, the hijackings are to be carried out by a team of 23 people

BS Web Team  |  New Delhi 

Aviation, airport, Passengers, Chhatrapati Shivaji International airport, Mumbai
Passengers wait for their luggage at a conveyor be at the Chhatrapati Shivaji International airport in Mumbai. Photo: Reuters

Terrorists may attempt to simultaneously highjack flights departing from Mumbai, Chennai and Hyderabad airports on Sunday, according to specific information received by airport security agencies. All three airports have been put on high alert.

"There was an email from an unknown female from Hyderabad to the Mumbai police, saying that a group of 23 people were going to hijack aircraft from different airports — Mumbai, Hyderabad and Chennai. Special airport security committee meetings were held at airports and all concerned have been alerted for strengthening preventive measures outlined by the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security," a senior civil aviation ministry official told Business Standard

Officials said a high alert has been issued to the three facilities after Mumbai Police received an e-mail last night from a woman living there.

The e-mail mentions that the woman overheard six boys talking about a possible aircraft hijack attempt at these facilities, they said. 

The Mumbai Police shared the e-mail with all security and intelligence agencies. 

A meeting of all stakeholders at these airports was subsequently convened and the input was declared specific and actionable, they said. 

CISF Director General O P Singh confirmed to PTI that the security apparatus at these airports has been put on "an enhanced alert and protocols have been stepped up". 

Special anti-sabotage sweeps are being undertaken at these airports since morning and security agencies, including the Central Industrial Security Force, have enhanced frisking of passengers, baggage scanning, pre-embarkation checks and patrols in the vicinity of the airports, they said. 

The CISF has called in its sniffer dog squads and quick reaction teams for undertaking sanitisation drills at the airports, they said, adding airlines have been asked to remain extra vigilant. 

"However, there is no reason to panic and all the operations at these airports will be normal and without any hassle to passengers," a senior officer who is part of airports security team said.