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Journalists get to watch Israel's famed security apparatus at work
Tara Shankar Sahay in New Delhi | September 09, 2003 01:59 IST
Being one of the worst terrorist-hit nations in the world, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's visit afforded Indian journalists a glimpse into the working of the West Asian nation's security apparatus.
To begin with, after the routine frisking, television crews and reporters were restricted to a designated area and gruffly told that they would have to be 'glued' to the spot for security reasons.
Sharon's arrival was preceded by security checks, by Indian and Israeli security personnel, around the technical area of the Palam airport, where his blue, white and silver El Al aircraft landed.
An Israeli woman security officer checked the stairway for the aircraft, methodically inspecting each step.
She was followed by a dog, which sniffed for explosives not only on the stairway but also the four limousines the visiting dignitaries, which had been neatly parked on the tarmac.
Most Israeli security personnel wore a loose shirt and trousers, which Indian security personnel indicated, could well be concealing sub-machine guns.
Israeli diplomats were seen hovering around constantly speaking into their mobile phones in Hebrew.
Although the aircraft carrying the Israeli prime minister and his entourage landed at 2052 IST, Sharon emerged surrounded by security personnel only at 2125 IST after most of the other passengers had disembarked.
Clad in a dark suit and tie, Sharon was greeted by Indian officials and some Israeli school children waving the Israeli national flag. Ignoring television crews trying to catch his attention, Sharon continued interacting with the children.Just before getting into one of the bulletproof limousines and speeding off, the Israeli prime minister waved to mediapersons.