Bomb threat shuts Australia international airport

Agence France-Presse

Posted at Feb 03 2019 03:07 PM

File photo from Brisbane Airport's official website

SYDNEY - One of Australia's busiest international airports was locked down after a man brandished a knife and made a bomb threat at a food court, prompting travelers to flee in panic, officials said Sunday.

Queensland state police said they evacuated Brisbane Airport's international terminal late Saturday after finding a "suspicious device" when they responded to reports of the 50-year-old man, who spoke Arabic, threatening a woman.

Terrorism was later ruled out as the cause and the man was charged with domestic violence offences, falsely claiming to destroy or damage an aviation facility, and making a hoax bomb threat.

The device was found to be "inert", but Queensland Police Commissioner Ian Stewart said its complex appearance "indicates just the extraordinary lengths that a person has gone to to create perception of risk, threat and fear".

The device looked like a small, black safe with wires sticking out of it, according to a photograph released by police.

The man, who was taken into custody by police, is due to face court on Monday. The terminal was reopened after 2 hours.

There have been growing fears of terror-linked attacks by radicals inspired by Islamic State and other groups, with a foiled effort to target an Etihad flight with a crude bomb in Sydney in 2017.

Canberra introduced sweeping new security laws last year that included allowing Australian police to conduct random identity checks at airports.