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sharm-el-sheikh bribes at airportBritons travelling through Sharm el-Sheikh airport said they had been able to pay guards £15 to jump security without their bags being checked.

Busy? Holidaymakers claim this photgraph proves security officers at Sharm el-Sheikh airport are free to use phones and this man was said to be on his for more than a minute as bags went through a scanner

Holidaymakers say officials approached them as they queued for security and asked if they wanted to just walk through for cash.

Britons say after handing over the money they were taken from snaking queues and allowed to bypass electronic body and bag scanners.

Dale Parkyn, 47, from Harrogate, paid up earlier this year with his wife Joanne and said: ‘We walked right through the security gates and security procedure, straight through the airport, avoided all the queues, and then he put the case on the conveyor belt and the girl checked us in. At no point did my luggage go through any scanner. When I think now it was bizarre.

He told Sky News: ‘At the time it was quite amusing that for us, for £20, we’d avoided all the queues.

‘It was only after listening to the news last night that I realised the gravity of what potentially could have happened’.

Others have described Egyptian security officials playing Candy Crush on their phones instead of scanning bags or smoking and even sleeping on the job.

British spies are to interrogate Egyptian baggage handlers after intercepted intelligence pointed to an ISIS mole smuggling a bomb into the hold of the doomed Russian jet.

MI5 heard ‘chatter’ from extremists in the Sinai Peninsula revealed there is a ‘high probability’ the disaster was caused by an explosion on board.

Hundreds of other passengers have spoken of their own shock at the appalling lack of security they faced when travelling through Egypt’s third busiest airport.

One holidaymaker told how she spotted a security official playing the computer game Candy Crush while they should have been screening baggage.

Others said they were nonchalantly waved through body scanners by guards who were ‘more interested in smoking cigarettes or eating their dinner’ just 24 hours before the doomed Metrojet plane came down.

Some staff were even found asleep on the job.

The disturbing revelations came as it emerged the head of Sharm el-Sheikh airport has been replaced amid growing international concern that the Airbus A321 that crashed in Sinai on Saturday was destroyed by a bomb smuggled through the Red Sea terminal.

British tourist Verna McKeich said: ‘I was shocked by the lack of airport security. The person manning the scanning machine was playing Candy Crush on his phone.’

In comments reported by Sky News, she added: ‘Once we were through, my exact words to my husband were that I hoped nobody on our flight has a bomb today.’

Nat McKenzie told MailOnline: ‘My family and I travelled back from Sharm el sheikh to the UK 24 hours before the ill-fated crash and we were struck by how lax the security measures were.

‘We unwittingly managed to get through security with multiple bottles of water in our hand luggage and I was also waved through the body scanner despite it setting off an alert as I passed through.

‘The two members of airport security that waved me through the body scanners were more interesting in smoking cigarettes and eating their dinner. They barely acknowledged our presence.

‘We were shocked to see how easy it was to get through with unauthorised items.’

Sylvia Tidy-Harris, 54, from Ibstock, Leicestershire, added: ‘The British airlines should have been sending people down to check what the airport is like.

‘I used to be a stewardess with Monarch and I am very conscious of security. Sharm is the worst.

‘We were there last November and would have liked to go back this year but security is lax at the airport and at some of the hotels.

‘Taxi drivers said airport security staff were very badly paid. They were either asleep, or on mobile phones. They would have their rifles just leaning against the side.

‘At Sharm we just put our two-litre bottles of water on the conveyor, and nobody took them off us.

‘I’ve been to many different places – say Morocco, Kenya – and didn’t feel security there was too bad. I didn’t feel so unhappy with the security as in Egypt.’

The British government is so concerned about the lack of security it has cancelled all flights to and from the resort, leaving more than 20,000 tourists stranded in Egypt.

Commercial airlines will fly empty to the Red Sea resort from Britain and begin flying holidaymakers back from tomorrow in a process likely to last up to ten days.

Are you stuck in Egypt? Has your holiday been cancelled? Call 0203 6151866 or email: martin.robinson@mailonline.co.uk or simon.tomlinson@mailonline.co.uk

Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said British officials and security equipment will be sent to Sharm to screen every bag and guard planes to get everyone home safely.

But Mr Hammond admitted Britons who have booked holidays up until Christmas are likely to have them cancelled until they work out how the bomb was planted and airport security is improved.

Asked if he might conclude that normal flights could never resume to Sharm, he admitted: ‘It’s a possibility’.

Travel agent association Abta said that according to the government, 3,500 UK holidaymakers were due to fly out to Sharm el Sheikh yesterday.

However, during a visit to Downing Street, President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi today said British experts had assessed security in Egyptian airports ten months ago and found it to be ‘good enough’.

,Meanwhile, the head of Sharm el-Sheikh airport has been replaced amid the growing furore over the terror crisis.

But farcically, Adel Mahgoub, the chairman of the state company that runs Egypt’s civilian airports, insisted Abdel-Wahab Ali had been ‘promoted’ to become his assistant.

Mr Mahgoub also said the move late last night had nothing to do with media scepticism surrounding the airport’s security.

Mr Ali was being replaced by Emad el-Balasi, a pilot, he added.

It came as a British border security expert also raised fears today that an explosive device could easily have been squirreled onto the plane by an ISIS mole working at the terminal.

Egyptian investigators have also interrogated caterers who delivered food onto the St Petersburg bound Airbus.

Tests were also being carried out on the fuel pumped into the tanks of the jet to check if impurities could have caused it to explode in mid-air and plunge 31,000ft.

Chris Hobbs, a former Metropolitan police officer with years of experience tackling organised international crime, warns it is ‘still too easy’ to smuggle prohibited baggage – including explosives and drugs – on to planes.

He raised the possibility that a bomb could have been snuck onto the jet by corrupt officials at the airport.
Writing in the Daily Mail, he said: ‘UK Customs Officers know the tactic as ‘rip on, rip off’.

‘It is appealing to criminals because it’s relatively simple but hard to detect.

‘And it is a certainty that British aviation security experts arriving in Egypt will be looking very carefully to see if such a scenario was behind the atrocity.

In a rip on, rip off operation, the ‘dirty package’ will be carried by a corrupt airport official from landside (before security) to airside (after security) – through an entrance that is manned by an equally corrupt guard.

Alternatively, the package may be concealed in or underneath an airport vehicle which will be subject to only the most cursory of searches.

Once airside, the package will be either placed directly in the aircraft’s hold or passed to a passenger who has already cleared security checks and can take it into the cabin as hand luggage.’

Mr Hobbs said he wrote a report four years ago warning that drug packages could be replaced by ‘something more sinister’.

He added: ‘Such terrorist activity would be dependent on the collusion of corrupt airport personnel. And corruption and feeble security are endemic in the Middle East.

‘Yet we in Britain cannot be complacent. It is true that levels of corruption are low, and airport staff are vetted and searched while moving from landside to airside.

05N_Egypt Map 2nd sol‘But the vetting process has severe limitations, especially for the increasing number of candidates born abroad.

‘Many of those with jihadist sympathies are so-called ‘clean skins’ – without any criminal record – who could pass under the radar.

‘Even the majority of UK Islamists returning from Syria are still not known to the police.’

Security specialist Will Geddes also claimed an airport worker – such as an engineer, cleaner or caterer – is most likely to have planted the bomb.

He said that unlike previous Al Qaeda terror attacks on planes, which saw passengers smuggling explosives on board, it was more likely in this case that someone working at the airport was responsible.

He said: ‘It’s one of the country’s prime destinations for tourists and they have the security in place for that.

‘I think it’s more likely that this came through back channels.

‘It may have been an engineer, someone in on board catering or somebody in a supply capacity rather than a passenger.

‘Originally the model of attack was a passenger, as we saw in 9/11 or Richard Reid shoe bombing, but that’s not the case anymore.’

‘The screening and security measures for passengers is much higher than for those working back of house, though you would like to think that they are still checked.’

However, Victoria Wilson, who flew out from Sharm el-Sheikh on the same night as the crashed plane with her husband Joff, said allegations of lax security and corruption made against employees at the airport are ‘so unfair’.

She said: ‘Our flight took off at 10.30pm so we must have been one of the last flights of the evening to go out.

‘We were incensed at reports of bribery at the airport – that was totally not the case. Actually it is a very secure airport.

‘You get scanned on the way into the building, you have all the normal scans of your luggage and you have your passport checked twice, you have to fill in forms twice. It is really thorough.’

Mrs Wilson, 44, a television production manager from London, has been to the resort every year since 2010, and said she has never been worried for her safety in the area or the airport.

‘We have never had any concerns there. The staff take it all very seriously and security was even more rigorous than in the UK, where there is often just a cursory check of the passport.

‘It is so unfair to suggest that corruption was taking place. We were in the airport with the same staff on duty as the ill-fated flight and they were absolutely thorough.

‘It was late at night and quite quiet but it all felt very normal.’

HOW DID ISIS DO IT? THEORIES ABOUT HOW THE BOMB GOT ON BOARD
British spies believe that it was a bomb that took down the ill-fated Russian jet on Saturday killing 224 people on board.

Here are the main key theories about how the bomb found its target:

Rogue baggage handler:

British spies have made this their number one theory and MI6 on the ground in Egypt will interview staff. It is feared that a baggage handler was either bribed to carry a bomb in a suitcase or brought it into the airport and put it in with the normal luggage.

Suicide bomber:
Tourists have said they paid £15 to avoid security altogether – an easy and cheap way for someone to carry explosives on to the plane without detection

Liquid bomber:
Holidaymakers say they have seen people bringing litres of water and soft drinks through security at Sharm airport without being stopped. Large amounts of liquids have been banned after it emerged terrorists planned to use liquid bombs on transatlantic flights disguised as soft drink bottles.

Runway intruder:

British security are set to guard British planes landing in Sharm el-Sheikh because of concerns they could be tampered with.
This approach is in case someone managed to break through the perimeter to plant the bomb.
In May flights were disrupted after a 29-year-old man crawled through the fence and started trying doors of a plane.

The man then approached a plane that was parked on the apron, climbed the boarding stairs and attempted to gain entry.

He was unable to get inside the plane because its doors were locked. While security personnel scrambled to stop him the man took a wedge placed in front of one of the plane’s wheels and threw it into the engine.

The disturbing revelations came as it emerged the head of Sharm el-Sheikh airport has been replaced amid growing international concern that the Airbus A321 that crashed in Sinai on Saturday was destroyed by a bomb smuggled through the Red Sea terminal.

British tourist Verna McKeich said: ‘I was shocked by the lack of airport security. The person manning the scanning machine was playing Candy Crush on his phone.’

In comments reported by Sky News, she added: ‘Once we were through, my exact words to my husband were that I hoped nobody on our flight has a bomb today.’

Nat McKenzie told MailOnline: ‘My family and I travelled back from Sharm el sheikh to the UK 24 hours before the ill-fated crash and we were struck by how lax the security measures were.
‘We unwittingly managed to get through security with multiple bottles of water in our hand luggage and I was also waved through the body scanner despite it setting off an alert as I passed through.

‘The two members of airport security that waved me through the body scanners were more interested in smoking cigarettes and eating their dinner. They barely acknowledged our presence.

Daily Mail

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