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By David M. Bresnahan

July 5, 2002

LOS ANGELES -- Israel calls the shooting at Los Angeles International Airport a terrorist event but U.S. investigators say they are unsure.

Egyptian limousine driver Mohamed Hadayet, 41, began shooting people in front of the El Al airline ticket counter yesterday. A security guard shot and killed Hadayet. A drivers license found by police listed his birthday as July 4, 1961, as well as a second birth date.

Los Angeles Police and the F.B.I. are searching for evidence to determine whether the act was terrorist connected, or just an act of violence. Israeli officials say the daughter of Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres was in the airport at the time. They believe the gunman was attempting to locate her when he was frustrated by an El Al ticket agent.

El Al ticket agent Victoria Hen, 25, and Yaakov Aminov, 46, a jeweler and father of eight, were shot and killed before an El Al guards shot Hadayet. Two security guards and a woman were wounded, and another woman suffered heart problems. Aminov was in the airport to drop off a friend for a flight.

F.B.I. spokesman Matt McLaughlin told reporters that terrorism is not being ruled out, "but there's nothing to indicate terrorism at this point."

Hadayet, who had a California gun permit, was carrying a Glock 45-caliber semiautomatic handgun along with an unidentified 9 mm handgun, as well as a 6-inch knife. In addition he had extra magazines with more ammunition for both guns -- indicating the attack was thought out and planned in advance.

Dr. David Parkus, a trauma surgeon from Texas was nearby when the shooting began, according to an Associated Press report.

He said he saw one security guard wrestling with Hadayet, then a second guard shot him. Parkus said one guard had injuries to his head and was cut by a knife on the right arm. The second guard was cut on the lower back and the left thigh, and also had a gunshot wound to the right thigh.

Parkus said he held the gunman as he died, then performed CPR on two victims, according to AP.

The international terminal was evacuated after the shooting, and 35 flights were delayed affecting 10,500 passengers, according to airport officials.

A bomb squad was called in when Hadayet's car was found in the parking garage, but nothing was found.

In an announcement just day before the incident, plans were revealed that LAX would undergo a major redesign that would require all incoming passengers to go through security screening at a remote site before taking trains to the terminals. The changes will cost $9.6 billion to install and implement.

LAX was the intended target of terrorist Ahmed Ressam who was captured on Dec. 14, 1999 trying to cross from Canada into the U.S. with a car full of explosives.

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