Skip to main content

Israeli reporter infiltrates Tel Aviv airport with fake ID and hoax bombs

David Suleiman passed security checks with obviously fake ID, gaining access to luggage, cockpits and other sensitive areas to plant 'bombs'
Security chiefs said Suleiman's activities at Ben Gurion airport were 'very grave' (AFP)

An undercover reporter was able to breach Israel's famed security at Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion airport with a friend's photo identification card and managed to plant hoax "bombs" on passenger planes while working as a cleaner.

David Suleiman passed security checks for a contractor's job in a day despite turning up bald and presenting a photo ID of a friend with a full head of hair. 

He was given full access to sensitive areas of the airport, placed "tin can bombs" inside aircraft and was able to access the pilot's cabin and film himself tampering with cockpit doors without raising any suspicions.

Suleiman's report was broadcast on Sunday by the Israeli Channel 2 network.

The reporter said he arrived at an interview with the airport’s cleaning company and presented what was clearly the photo ID of another man, his friend Tamir. The ID went unchallenged.

Suleiman (right) used the ID of his friend to gain a job at the airport (Channel 2)
Working aboard aircraft, he filmed himself intentionally attempting to arouse suspicion inside the pilot’s cabin and tampering with the door.

He used this apathy to plant drinks cans inside the aircraft in the emulation of an explosive device the Islamic State group said it used to bring down a Russian airliner last October over Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt. 

“Over two days, I worked on 12 airplanes and I could have done whatever I wanted in all of them,” he told Channel 2.

Suleiman then walked to an off-limits area where suitcases are loaded onto aircraft. Not only did his presence go unchallenged, he was even asked to help with the bags.

The chief executive of Israel's Security Association, Pini Shiff, said Suleiman’s fake ID “should have been discovered immediately”, Suleiman's expose was "very grave" and accused the contractor company of negligence. 

Shiff added that security procedures at Ben Gurion had been immediately changed.

The Israel Airports Authority filed a police complaint against Suleiman for impersonating a public employee.

This article is available in French on Middle East Eye French edition.

Stay informed with MEE's newsletters

Sign up to get the latest alerts, insights and analysis, starting with Turkey Unpacked

Middle East Eye delivers independent and unrivalled coverage and analysis of the Middle East, North Africa and beyond. To learn more about republishing this content and the associated fees, please fill out this form. More about MEE can be found here.