Israel’s Ben Gurion airport erupts in panic after American family arrives with artillery shell

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An American family caused panic Thursday at Israel’s Ben Gurion airport when they showed up with an unexploded artillery shell they had found in the Golan Heights in the north of the country.

Videos circulating online showed frightened passengers inside the airport running for security and screaming. Authorities raised the alarm and at least one person was injured trying to run on a treadmill.

Other videos show passengers on the ground in an attempt to take cover. The shell was removed and the family released after questioning. There was no explosion. The family said they found the shell in the Golan Heights and intend to bring it back as a souvenir.

Authorities are still investigating the incident.

Israel captured the Golan Heights from Syria in the 1967 war, and the area saw heavy fighting during that war and another Arab-Israeli war six years later. Areas known to contain unexploded ordnance are clearly marked and fenced.

Israel annexed the strategic plateau in 1981 and today it is a major tourist draw, with vineyards, popular hiking spots and a small ski resort with a short season. Prime Minister Naftali Bennett announced his intention to increase Israeli settlement in the territory in December.

In this photo provided by Israel Airports Authority, shows an unexploded artillery shell at Ben Gurion International Airport in Lod, Israel. A bomb threat has sparked panic at Israel’s airport after an American family showed up with an unexploded artillery shell they had found in the Golan Heights and had intend to bring back as a souvenir.

The Trump administration has broken with decades of US policy aimed at recognizing Israel’s claim to the Golan, making the United States the only country to do so.

Israel says it needs the Golan, which has stunning views of Lebanon and Syria, for its security. Syria has long insisted that all territory be returned to it in any peace deal.


The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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