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Reid: Previous shoe search.

ALLEGED 'shoe bomber' Richard Reid was considered a top security risk and had to remove his shoes for special screening before boarding a flight from Israel this summer, it emerged yesterday.

A spokesman for Israel's national carrier El Al said even after no explosives were found, the airline seated the 28-year-old next to an armed sky marshal in the second to last row, far from the cockpit.

Reid apparently flew to Israel last July to try to find weaknesses in the airline's vaunted security system, in preparation for a possible attack on an El Al flight, another source said.

Reid, who is accused of trying to blow up a plane from Paris to Miami using explosives hidden in his black suede basketball trainers, faced an American court on Friday.

He had a 'home-made bomb' capable of ripping through the side of the American Airlines plane, FBI special agent Margaret Cronin told the hearing in Boston.

Reid was remanded in custody during the preliminary court appearance after US magistrate Judge Judith Dein said his "violent and assaultive behaviour" towards the cabin crew showed he posed a danger to the public if released.

Reid was charged with intimidation or assault of a flight crew, which carries a maximum 20-year sentence , and the FBI has said further charges were likely.

US government officials believe the plan may have failed because he was unable to light the fuse, said Ms Cronin.

Assistant US Attorney Colin Owyang said Reid had "no verifiable address anywhere in the world" and had been living in hotels in Paris.


RISK: Richard Reid
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Publication:Wales On Sunday (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Dec 30, 2001
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