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LAX Traffic Lanes Closed After 'Terrorist' Tells Police He Has Bomb*
iPhone photo of people walking around the streets of LAX
Update: View updated story and photo gallery here. Original post below.
Traffic has been blocked and gridlocked at LAX at the upper and lower levels of the airport after a man, reportedly between the ages of 20 and 25, went up to police in front of the Tom
Bradley International Terminal and claimed he was a terrorist with a bomb in his bag, according to ABC7. He was immediately arrested and a bomb squad was dispatched to the airport."A search of the area found an unattended bag located near a ticket counter," a statement by the Transportation Security Administration said. A staging area was set up in front of Terminal 3 and nearby people in cars have been evacuated with their vehicles left at the scene, the news station said live on air.
Many patrons at the airport were confused to why traffic was shut down. A Public Information Officer at LAX told an LAist tipster that they cannot tell airport patrons what is going on, only saying there will be an update within a half hour. But they are saying that terminals remain open and the airport continues to function.
In 2002 on the Fourth of July, two people were killed by a gunman at LAX before a security officer shot him dead
Update, 12:03 p.m.: Traffic is starting to flow and people are being let into at least one terminal, according to one LAist tipster who is at LAX right now.
Update, 12:29 p.m.: "... the upper and lower roadways near the terminal have been reopened, according to LAX police, per CBS2.com. "However, traffic is completing gridlocked both entering and exiting the airport."
Update, 12:41 p.m.: Terminal 3 is still closed, but the building is open. Patrons are standing around on the sidewalks or inside the building near the ticketing/check-in areas. People generally seem to be in high spirits.
Update, 12:45 p.m.: The bag and suspected bomb has been declared safe and LAX operations should be going back to normal shortly, according to KCAL9 on-air news. However, traffic is snarled throughout the area and it will take sometime before speeding up.
Update, 12:50 p.m.: Airport employees are being let through security now at Terminal 3, but customers are not.
Update, 1:26 p.m.: "Los Angeles Police Department bomb squad officials examined a black bag the man was carrying and described its contents as 'junk,'" the LA Times says.
Further updates will come in a later post.
*Denotes Updated Post