LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - An Iraqi national wearing wires and concealing a magnet inside his rectum triggered a security scare at Los Angeles International Airport on Tuesday but officials said he posed no apparent threat.
The man, identified by law enforcement officials as Fadhel al-Maliki, 35, set off an alarm during passenger screening at the airport early on Tuesday morning.
A police bomb squad was called to examine what was deemed a suspicious item found during a body cavity search of the man. Local media reports said a magnet was found in his rectum.
“He was secreting these items in a body cavity and that was a great concern because there were also some electric wires associated with that body cavity,” Larry Fetters, security director for the Transportation Security Administration at the airport, told reporters.
Maliki, 35, who lives in Atlantic City, New Jersey, was preparing to board a US Airways flight from Los Angeles to Philadelphia.
The flight left without Maliki but with his luggage aboard. It made an unscheduled landing in Las Vegas, where the plane was thoroughly searched but nothing was found, officials said.
Passengers were not evacuated and no flights were disrupted by the incident at Terminal One at Los Angeles airport.
“There never was a threat,” Fetter said.
He said police and the FBI were called in from “an abundance of caution” because Maliki was “so bizarre in his behavior.”
Maliki, who had a U.S. green card, was being questioned by immigration officials about his immigration status.