Iran is the likely culprit in the unsolved disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, a former El Al security chief has told The Times of Israel.
“What happened to this aircraft, nobody knows. My guess is based upon the stolen passports, and I believe Iran was involved. They hijacked the aircraft and they landed it in a place that nobody can see or find it,” said Isaac Yeffet, head of global security for El Al in the 1980s and now an aviation security consultant in New Jersey.
Yeffet said investigators should pursue the trail of two fake-passport carrying Iranian passengers on the flight, and not waste valuable time on other possible scenarios.
Yeffet pointed out that an El Al aircraft has been hijacked once, in 1968. Since then, there has not been a single flight where security did not check every single name.
He ruled out the captain of the plane as a suspect.
“We are talking about a captain who is 53 years old, who has worked for Malaysia Airlines for 30 years, and suddenly he became a terrorist? He wanted to commit suicide? If he committed suicide, where is the debris?”
But experts can disagree. Lt. Col. (Res.) Eran Ramot, a former IAF fighter pilot and the head of aviation research at Israel’s Fisher Institute for Air and Space Strategic Studies, opined that the hijacking required an experienced pilot.
“It would be very complicated [for someone other than the pilot to have flown the plane],” Ramot said, noting that the flight made a complete U-turn from its planned route and also dipped in between radar points for hours and had all of its tracking systems manually turned off. “It takes somebody that knows how to operate an airplane like this.”
But where is the plane?
“One of my theories is that the airplane landed in Bangladesh. It could reach there, it’s very close to Afghanistan. It could have landed on airstrip there, and everybody on board is still alive. It could be done,” Ramot said.
Top Israeli aviation expert Pini Schiff noted, “The level of security at Ben-Gurion and on all El Al planes is so high, there is nothing more they could do… Nations are not spending billions of dollars the way the Israeli government is protecting Israeli aviation.”
Nevertheless, in recent days, security and airport officials at Ben Gurion have decided on implementing an upgrade that will make a repeat of the Malaysia Airlines case even less likely to happen.
Foreign aircraft will be required now to identify themselves well before entering Israeli airspace, reports Arutz Sheva.
Other precautions were also taken, but were not made public due to security reasons.