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Paris ends security program after mishap

Airport police lose bag with explosives

PARIS -- French police yesterday ended their practice of hiding plastic explosives inside air passengers' luggage to train bomb-sniffing dogs after one such bag got lost, possibly ending up on a flight out of Charles de Gaulle airport.

The luggage that police used Friday for the exercise has not turned up. Three flights that arrived in Los Angeles and New York were searched, but the bag was not found.

No passenger has contacted French authorities to report finding a bag with nearly 5 ounces of explosives tucked into his or her suitcase.

Police say there is no chance the explosives could go off because they were not connected to detonators. But Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin was critical of the mistake.

''The fight against terrorism and insecurity is a priority for the government," a statement by his office said. ''But [Raffarin] made clear his concern in the face of the way the training for explosives searches was conducted at Roissy Charles de Gaulle."

Raffarin said the procedure was ''susceptible to making the relevant passenger run a risk in the eyes of foreign authorities when arriving in the destination country."

Police announced soon after that they had ordered officers to stop the practice.

''The procedures that were used Friday night will no longer be allowed," said Pierre Bouquin, a spokesman for France's police force known as gendarmes, who conducted the training.

Airport police placed a bag containing up to 5 ounces of plastic explosives into a passenger's luggage early Friday evening, Bouquin said. The luggage was lost on a conveyor belt carrying bags through a restricted area from check-in to planes.

The explosives could have made it onto one of up to 90 flights leaving Charles de Gaulle airport. Police did not know the bag's destination and quickly alerted relevant airlines.

Two officers faced disciplinary action because of the incident, Bouquin said.

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