Last Updated | Wednesday | 10:24 a.m. In what no doubt seemed like a good idea at the time, Slovak officials decided to test airport security in Slovakia on Saturday by concealing plastic explosives in eight suitcases and waiting to see what happened next.
Here???s what happened next: airport security workers intercepted seven of the suitcases but failed to detect 96 grams of the plastic explosive RDX loaded into one bag, which belonged to a Slovak electrician who lives in Ireland and had no idea his luggage had been tampered with. The man boarded his flight to Dublin, retrieved his bag and went home to his apartment.
The man then unpacked but, The Irish Times reports, ???the explosives had been concealed so well that he did not find them.???
Three days later, on Tuesday, it apparently occurred to someone in Slovakia that the fact that one of the explosive-packed bags had gone missing was a problem and Slovakian airport authorities contacted their counterparts in Dublin to ask for help.
On Tuesday morning, the Irish Army???s bomb squad paid a visit to the apartment of the Slovak electrician in Dublin and secured the explosives.
According to a Canadian Press report, the man was detained for several hours by the Irish police who said they ???initially were led to believe the man might be a terrorist.??? The man was released after Slovak officials made it clear that they had been responsible for planting the explosives.
Politicians in Ireland are calling for a full inquiry into exactly what happened in Slovakia and some details of the incident are not yet clear. The Web site Slovakia Today reported on Tuesday that the tests were carried out at two airports ??? one in Bratislava, the country???s capital, and the other in central Slovakia. On Wednesday, though, The Irish Times reported that the test was only on bags at Poprad-Tatry airport.
The Irish newspaper and The Canadian Press reported that the bag containing enough explosives to make two hand grenades was loaded onto the 11 a.m. Danube Wings flight to Dublin from Poprad-Tatry airport on Saturday.
Irish authorities said that Slovakia???s interior minister had been in touch to convey ???his government???s profound regret for this incident,??? Reuters reported.
Update | Wednesday | 10:24 a.m. On Wednesday morning, The Associated Press reported, Slovakia???s interior ministry issued a statement explaining that ???The aim of the training was to keep sniffer dogs in shape and on alert in a real environment.??? According to the ministry, the bag that made it past the dog had two bomb components in it. The sniffer dog apparently found one of the components, but the police officer in charge of the test failed to remove the second component because, the ministry says, he was busy.
After a press conference at the airport in Slovakia on Wednesday, according to a report on the Web site of the Slovak newspaper SME, the Slovak version of this story got somewhat murkier, as officials insisted that they had attempted to notify their counterparts in Ireland of the error immediately after it happened on Saturday by telex.
According to a report in The Irish Examiner, ???A spokeswoman for the Dublin Airport Authority said the airport police were first alerted yesterday morning by phone by police at Bratislava airport. She said they had claimed that they had previously sent a telex, but the DAA said they never got one.???
*This post was revised as more details about the incident were reported in the Irish and Slovakian media.