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Police: Dry ice blasts at L.A. airport not terrorism

LOS ANGELES - Police said Tuesday they don't believe two dry ice explosions this week in restricted areas at Los Angeles International Airport were an act of terror, and they're pursuing the theory that the blasts were the work of a disgruntled employee.

The bombs were made by putting dry ice in 20-ounce plastic bottles and could have caused serious injury to anyone in close proximity, though no one was hurt, said Los Angeles Police Department Deputy Chief Michael Downing, who heads the department's counter-terrorism and special operations bureau. Police are treating them as seriously as if they were pipe bombs.

"Our intent is to find the person who did it, build a prosecutable case, and put them in jail," he said.

Investigators have not identified a suspect. They were interviewing employees Tuesday and requesting that anyone with information come forward.

Police believe the explosions were set off because of an internal labor dispute and not terrorism because of the locations of the devices and because no innocent civilians were targeted, Downing said.

One device exploded in an employee men's room Sunday night in Terminal 2. Remnants of an exploded bottle also were found that night on the tarmac area near the Tom Bradley International Terminal, but an employee threw it away. The same employee found an unexploded bottle Monday evening and then reported what he found the previous day.

There were no reports of any injuries or evacuations. Flights were delayed Sunday night, but no flights were affected Monday.

While the two terminals are not connected, Downing said an employee could walk or drive between them on the tarmac.

Investigators were checking surveillance video and planned to hand out pamphlets to employees telling them about the serious nature of the crime and that it wouldn't be tolerated, Downing said.

While there are cameras in some of these restricted-access areas, Downing said there isn't as much camera coverage as in the public-access areas.

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