Family's Souvenir Causes Airport Panic

US travelers in Israel had unexploded shell in their luggage
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 29, 2022 2:26 PM CDT
Family's Souvenir Causes Airport Panic
Travelers walk with their luggage in the Ben Gurion Airport near Tel Aviv, Israel, in this file photo.   (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

(Newser) – A US family's trip to the Middle East ended in chaos when airport screeners found an unexploded shell they'd found and kept as a souvenir. Reuters reports on the Thursday incident at Israel's Ben Gurion Airport, where the family showed up for their trip back to the States. Their vacation had included a tour of the Golan Heights, a disputed territory claimed by both Israel and Syria, and where one of the children stumbled upon the unexploded ordnance and decided to bring it home as a keepsake, per the Jewish Press.

The Washington Post notes the shell was likely left over from Israel's battles with Syria in either 1967 or 1973. Unfortunately, despite its fascinating history, security screeners weren't thrilled to find it when checking the family's luggage, and an immediate evacuation was ordered. Videos circulating online show the commotion in the airport, with panicked people screaming, ducking, and running, dragging their luggage behind them as they tried to flee the area. Some dropped to the floor and hid under tables—a sign of Israel's "state of permanent readiness for attack," per the Post.

Luckily, the shell didn't detonate, but there was at least one injury: The Israel Airports Authority says a 32-year-old man ended up in the hospital after getting hurt while trying to run from the action over a baggage carousel. The family was grilled by security staff, and once it was determined they weren't a threat, they were allowed to board their flight back to the United States. It's not clear if the shell made its way home with them. (Read more Israel stories.)

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