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Friday, 5 July, 2002, 15:18 GMT 16:18 UK
FBI names LA airport gunman
A policeman addresses stranded passengers
Chaos reigned at the terminal, which closed for hours
Officials from the American Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) have named a man who opened fire at Los Angeles airport on Thursday, killing two people before being shot dead by a security guard.

Hesham Mohammed Ali Hadayet, 41, was an Egyptian citizen who had been in the US for about 10 years.

Hesham Mohamed Ali Hadayet
Hadayet was identified from fingerprints and vehicle records
Police on Friday searched his apartment in Irvine, California, and took away a computer, books, binders, and bags of other material.

There is no evidence the attack was an act of terrorism, but it has not been ruled out, the FBI has told the BBC.

Three people were also wounded in the shooting at the airport's El Al desk, which came as Americans celebrated Independence Day on a high state of alert for terror attacks.

Cairo link

Hadayet, who worked as a limousine driver, was registered in the US as a "resident alien".

He had a wife and two children, but police have been told they are in Egypt.

The day of the attack was Hadayet's 41st birthday. Egyptian police visited the apartment of Hadayet's father in Cairo on Friday morning, according to the Associated Press news agency.

Relatives told the agency that Hadayet's wife and sister were taken away for questioning.


That it happened on the day on which we honour what America stands for - liberty, security and diversity - makes this particularly more tragic

Gray Davis, California Governor

Police are still trying to determine a motive for the shooting.

There has been a cautious reaction to the attack in the US, with the government and many Americans seeing it as not necessarily related to the 11 September attacks.

"It appears this was an isolated incident," LA Mayor James Hahn said.

However, the Israeli Government was swift to call it a terrorist incident.

Eyewitness accounts

The gunman, who was later found to be carrying two handguns and a six-inch knife, had approached another person at the ticket counter and opened fire shortly before 1200 (1900 GMT), said Alex Baez, a police spokesman.

Passengers and workers hid behind counters and in offices until an El Al security guard shot the gunman, police said.

"The first couple of shots, everybody just stood there, frozen like I was," said Hakin Hasidh, who was standing in the line next to the El Al counter.

After hearing two shots, Mr Hasidh said he turned and saw the gunman fire at passengers in line.

One of the victims has been named as Yakov Aminov, aged 46. He had been dropping friends off at the airport, hospital officials said.

A woman in her 20s was also killed. The airline said she was an employee of a company that provides ground services to El Al at the airport.

The BBC's David Willis, who was at the airport when the attack occurred, said many people were in tears after the shooting.

The airport was very busy for the Fourth of July holiday, he said.

Flights delayed

Thousands were evacuated from the international terminal, although the Federal Aviation Administration said all domestic flights continued to operate normally.

Twenty outbound flights were delayed, but five hours after the shooting, most of the terminal had reopened.

California Governor Gray Davis praised the swift action from El Al's security agents saying they had prevented a greater loss of life.
FBI agents at suspect's house
Hadayet's apartment was searched by the FBI

"That it happened on the day on which we honour what America stands for - liberty, security and diversity - makes this particularly more tragic," he said in a statement.

The BBC's Washington correspondent, Justin Webb, says that despite the loss of life most Americans are relieved that the shooting was the only serious violence reported on the Fourth of July.

They had feared much worse.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's David Willis
"The FBI is not ruling out terrorism"
The BBC's Nick Bryant
"This was man who was heavily armed"
Matthew McLaughlin, FBI
"The suspect moved to the United States from Egypt in 1992"

Talking PointTALKING POINT
Airport security
What more needs to be done to tighten it up?
See also:

05 Jul 02 | Americas
04 Jul 02 | Americas
04 Jul 02 | Americas
02 Jul 02 | Americas
05 Oct 01 | Europe
05 Jul 02 | Americas
05 Jul 02 | Americas
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