Bomb scare in DHL parcels at Cairo

Egyptian security forces had to check some suspect parcels carried by DHL at Cairo international airport yesterday after officials suspected that they may contain explosive devices. No explosives were found.

The 10kg packages, bound for the United States, were checked when the suspicion was raised. According to a spokesperson for DHL, “As part of our standard screening and security procedure, we identified a shipment today at DHL’s Cairo airport facility that required further screening by the authorities.”

The packages were being shipped to the US through London. They were subsequently found to contain contaminated printer ink cartridges.

Given the recent bombing of a Russian passenger jet flying from Egypt to Russia and the general security threat in the region, security is heightened in Egypt and extra care is taken over the contents of packages. With the US a known target by militant groups in the Middle East, such heightened security measures are necessary for the safety of passengers and crew of airlines.

International express delivery companies are aware that their deliveries may be targeted as means to get explosives on aircraft. It is well known that in the event of an explosion on an aircraft, such companies get very nervous in case the explosion came from one of their containers as this could ruin their business for good.

Most of the staff in such companies receive training in detecting explosives and other illicit substances during normal induction, and take security extremely seriously. Trainees get hands on experience with plastic explosives and other means of delivering explosives into aircraft. This incident in Cairo was a case of better safe than sorry – it is better for all that a security risk is called with nothing found than nothing called ahead of an explosion. Companies such as DHL never get a second chance after taking their eye off the ball once.