Delhi airport returns to normal after terror scare (Lead)

December 5th, 2008 - 11:38 am ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Dec 5 (IANS) The Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA) here returned to normalcy after being shut down for nearly 20 minutes Friday morning following reports of gunshots near the arrival terminal.“There is no proof of the reported firing. In our combing operations, we found no eyewitness to the alleged firing nor did we find any rounds of gunshots. There are no incidents of injury. Everything is normal,” Udayan Banerjee, deputy inspector general (DIG) of the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), told reporters.

“This was not a terror attack. We are taking every precautionary measure and there is no need to panic,” Banerjee added.

The alarm was raised after a white Qualis car reportedly tried to approach the arrival terminal from a restricted road around 1.10 a.m.

Vibhash, a 25-year-old employee of the Le Meridian hotel, told reporters that he heard at least two gunshots from the direction of the unidentified Qualis car bearing a Haryana registration number.

“I have not seen any one firing but definitely heard sounds similar to gunshots,” he said.

Following reports of gunshots, officials of the CISF and Delhi Police, both responsible for the security at the airport, swung into action and surrounded the airport.

The gates of the airport were immediately closed and an intensive search was launched.

Three international flights were delayed because of the incident. The flight operations have resumed now as per schedule.

The security had been heavily tightened in and around IGIA as well as the Chennai and Bangalore airports after authorities had received intelligence inputs about a terror threat. Security agencies had been warned of a possible flight hijack that could lead to another 9/11 like incident.

Domestic passengers had been asked to come in three hours ahead of their flight time to go through an intensive security check. Security personnel were scrupulously checking all carry-on and check-in baggage.

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