Armoured cars, and troops and police sealed off London's Heathrow Airport on Wednesday (26 June) to forestall a possible terror attack.
GV Aircraft on tarmac
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GV Armoured car patrols airport road
GV PAN FROM armoured car and troops to police stopping cars on airport approaches
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SV Soldier on guard as army vehicles enter airport and soldier searches private vehicle
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Background: Armoured cars, and troops and police sealed off London's Heathrow Airport on Wednesday (26 June) to forestall a possible terror attack.
The massive security operation coincided with reports of intelligence warnings from the Middle East that Arab guerrillas were planning to strike at American, Israeli or Dutch airliners.
Soon after midday, in teeming rain, army trucks and landrovers roared into the airport's bustling passenger areas. Police at the same time set up roadblocks on the airport approach roads, and many passengers complained that they had missed their flights.
While Saracen and Ferret armoured cars took up positions on the airport perimeter, soldiers began erecting tents on the north side, apparently preparing for a stay of about a week.
Some officers said they were not exactly sure what the operation was about, and official spokesmen were not much more forthcoming. A Government statement said only that security needed to be intensified in the light of the current assessment of possible "terrorist" activity.
Airport officials suggested two reasons for the exercise. One was the possibility of guerrilla attacks. The other was the coming week-end meeting in London of the Socialist International, attracting important personalities from all over the world.
The security operation was the second this year. A similar exercise in January was called following reports of a possible guerrilla rocket attack at Heathrow.