An explosives-laden suitcase left in Sydney Airport for more than three weeks after a sniffer dog training exercise has embarrassed Australian police and forced officials to apologize.
The bag containing 230 grams of plastic explosives was left behind by officers on Aug. 14, Bloomberg reported Thursday, citing a statement from the Australian Federal Police.
It was discovered on Sept. 9 when a woman whose bag was damaged during a flight was given the suitcase by airport staff by mistake.
The woman took the device to a local police station, prompting the building to be evacuated.
A police spokesman said the explosives had been sealed in a bag to help train sniffer dogs and were not live and did not pose a danger to the public.
“We take this error seriously,” Wayne Buchhorn, commander of the airport police unit, said in the statement.
“We regularly review our processes in this area and we will do again in the light of this incident.”
About 450 grams of the plastic explosive semtex was enough to down Pan Am flight 103 in the 1988 Lockerbie bombing, according to a 2001 trial relating to the case.
Australia is considering raising its terrorism threat to the highest level in more than a decade, The Australian newspaper reported today without saying where it obtained the information.
On Wednesday, police arrested two men in Brisbane and raided nine properties as part of an investigation into a group allegedly involved in recruiting and financing people to fight alongside militants in Syria.
Brisbane will host the G20 summit in November.
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