The woman is suspected of collecting intelligence on security protocols and behavior of Israeli airline’s staff.
Belgian authorities have arrested a woman suspected of taking part in an Iranian plot to collect intelligence on Israeli targets at Brussels Airport, Ynet news reported.
Sources quoted by the news website said a security guard working for Israeli airline El Al found a suspicious-looking suitcase that was left in one of the airport’s concourses on Thursday.
As a result, police evacuated the departure hall of Zaventem airport due to the presence of the susopected luggage, Belgian media reported. The army’s bomb disposal service was called to Brussels Airport to examine the luggage.
The airport said the hall was later again accessible, as upon inspection of the suitcase, no explosives were found in it, but only several packs of hand sanitizer.
A spokesperson for the local police told the media that they “did not want to take any risks” and the airport stated that “the situation was back to normal; no flights have been canceled.”
The sources told Ynet that an investigation of the incident managed to link the suitcase to a woman of Iranian descent who resides in Brussels and has boarded a Qatar Airways flight to Doha.
Belgian police ordered the Airbus plane to turn around, and according to one source, the woman was taken off the plane and arrested.
According to sources in El Al’s security team in Brussels, quoted by Ynet, this was an attempt by the Iranians to test security protocols at the airport and obtain information on the behavior of El Al’s security staff. They praised the security guard for acting with composure and preventing a future attack.
On 22 March 2016, a series of coordinated suicide bombings carried out by Islamist terrorists had hit Brussels Airport and a metro station in the Belgian capital. Thirty-two people and three terrorists were killed, and more than 300 people were injured.