A security breach and a flashlight battery explosion shut down four terminals at Los Angeles International Airport for nearly four hours on Saturday, delaying dozens of flights and clogging traffic for miles on surrounding city streets. The evacuations at three interconnected domestic terminals came on Labor Day weekend, one of the busiest travel holidays of the year, after a person bypassed security by walking up an exit staircase into the passenger area, local officials said. Authorities were unable to locate the person who triggered the alarm but all passengers in the terminals were evacuated and re-screened. A separate incident about 30 minutes later shut down the airport's busy international terminal when a plastic flashlight exploded in the bag of a Japanese tourist about to board a Korean Air flight for Tokyo, Los Angeles Mayor Jim Hahn told a news conference. There have been several incidents involving Los Angeles airport in recent years, including a foiled plot to bomb it on New Year's Eve of 2000. On July 4, 2002, an Egyptian opened fire at the El Al counter at the airport's international terminal, killing two people. The airport, which has eight domestic terminals and one dedicated to international flight, was the third-busiest for passenger traffic in the United States in 2003 and the fifth-busiest in the world, according to the Airports Council International, informs Reuters. According to Pasadena Star, Thousands of Labor Day weekend travelers at Los Angeles International Airport were delayed for hours Saturday after a man bypassed security in one terminal and a flashlight exploded at another, officials said. The two unrelated incidents led authorities to close four terminals for more than three hours while investigating the explosion and rescreening passengers. "We don't believe it was intentional,' Mayor James Hahn said of the small explosion, which officials blamed on the flashlight's batteries, not a bomb. The blast occurred shortly after 8 a.m. in the international terminal when the flashlight containing two type C batteries exploded in the hands of the Transportation Security Administration employee searching a Japanese passenger's luggage. The shutdown Saturday followed a bomb scare Friday at Ontario International Airport that prompted the evacuation of 1,000 people for two hours. The suspicious bag that caused it turned out to contain only cosmetics, officials said. A security breach and a minor explosion caused by decaying batteries at Los Angeles International Airport forced the closure of four terminals Saturday morning, delaying dozens of flights for several hours on the second day of the Labor Day weekend. The two unrelated incidents, which occurred within an hour of each other, also prompted a three-hour closure of the roadways leading in and out of the airport, effectively locking down most of the facility to the public. The security delays forced the cancellation of two United Airlines flights and delayed more than 40 other inbound and outbound flights at LAX, one of the world's busiest airports, reports San Francisco Chronicle.
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