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Unexploded shell

The family had brought the shell as a souvenir, authorities said

A US family caused a bomb scare at Israel’s main international airport after presenting an unexploded artillery shell at a security check.

They had picked up the ordnance on a visit to the Israeli occupied Golan Heights, site of wars between Israel and Syria, according to authorities.

Video footage on social media showed people running from the scene in panic.

The family was allowed to board their flight after being interrogated by security, who gave the all-clear.

Israel captured most of the Golan Heights from Syria during the Six-Day War in 1967 and remnants of the conflict can still be found in the area.

Israel’s YNet news site said in the incident on Thursday night a member of the family produced the shell from their backpack and asked a security official if it could be put in a suitcase.

The official ordered her immediate vicinity to be cleared, but another passenger who misheard her started shouting “terrorists shooting”, triggering mass panic, the site said.

Video posted on social media by Israel’s Kan public broadcaster showed dozens of people shouting and fleeing the check-in area, with others crouching or lying on the floor in the confusion.

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.View original tweet on Twitter

Amid the chaos, a 32-year-old man, Uri, injured himself as he tried to escape and was taken to hospital.

“I was at the airport waiting for an hour in line until I got to the check-in counter, and suddenly at a radius of five metres (16ft) people started running away and left luggage,” he told YNet.

“The fear was that someone is spraying bullets, I understood that I too have to escape, so I ran towards the check-in, I stumbled on a conveyor belt… and flew a distance of six metres.”

Ben Gurion airport, just outside Tel Aviv, is considered to have one of the highest levels of security in the world. Vehicles and travellers pass through security checks before they reach the terminal and check-in area.

Israel is also on high alert after a series of deadly attacks across the country in recent weeks.

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