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Israel Tightens Procedures After Malaysia Mystery

Officials decide foreign aircraft must identify well before reaching Israeli airspace, as new details of missing flight emerge.
By Ari Yashar
First Publish: 3/16/2014, 9:14 PM

Airplane (illustrative)
Airplane (illustrative)
Thinkstock

In the wake of "conclusive" suspicions of hijacking in the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, which vanished without a trace along with its 239 passengers last Saturday, Israel has decided to tighten its security measures for foreign aircraft entering Israeli airspace.

Security and airport officials discussed the changing security situation in light of the disappearance, and eventually decided to change regulations for foreign aircraft, which now will be required to identify themselves well before entering Israeli airspace, reports Channel 2.

A list of similar procedures tightening security were decided by the officials, but due to security reasons the list has not been made public.

Speculations over the fate of the missing plane deepened Sunday after it was revealed that the pilot, Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah, was a "fanatical" supporter of Malaysia's opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim, who was jailed for homosexuality mere hours before the plane's disappearance, reports the Daily Mail.

Further, Shah's wife and three children reportedly moved out of the family home the day before the flight for reasons as yet unknown. It is now suspected that the disappearance may have been an anti-government protest by the pilot.

Another line of suspicions was revealed Sunday, after a British court heard testimony from Al Qaeda turncoat Sajid Badat that terrorists had been planning a "9/11 style" attack for weeks.

According to Badat, four to five Malaysian Islamist terrorists were planning to use a shoe bomb to blow open the cockpit door and take control of the plane. Badat had already met with the group, which reportedly included a pilot, in Afghanistan, and given them a bomb to use during the flight.

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak on Saturday said the fact the plane doubled back and turned off its communications "is consistent with someone acting deliberately from inside the plane."