Dublin Bomb Hoaxer to Face Court Charges

DUBLIN, Ireland_A bomb hoaxer who forced a "red alert" evacuation of Dublin International Airport was arraigned in court Wednesday, a day after his actions set off chaos at Ireland's major airport.

Airport police arrested John McHugh, a 48-year-old unemployed Irishman, Tuesday after he ran through the airport's arrivals section claiming he had a bomb in his bag. Irish army experts later determined the bag contained only clothes and papers.

McHugh did not speak during his brief appearance in Dublin District Court, where he faced a single criminal charge of "making a false statement."

Chris Elliott, a police officer who charged McHugh with the offense Tuesday night, testified that McHugh had replied, "Not at this moment," when the charge was leveled against him.

Judge Leo Malone offered McHugh bail of €1,500 (US$2,000) on condition that he stay away from Ireland's two biggest airports, but the man's lawyer, Kieran Conway, said his client would not be able to meet it. The judge then ordered McHugh held in Ireland's Cloverhill Prison and set his next court date for July 12 inside the prison.

Witnesses said McHugh had held his bag over his head, shouted out that he was an operative of the al-Qaida terror network, made Arabic-sounding phrases, and - as two police officers hauled him away - claimed that a second bomb had been placed elsewhere in the airport.

The Dublin airport was closed for two hours because of the threat, which airport spokesman Siobhan Moore said was treated as a highest-threat red alert. She said about 50 flights involving 9,000 passengers were delayed. Ryanair canceled 18 flights to and from Dublin because of the traffic gridlock and overcrowding that followed the long delay, when passengers were sent to nearby parking lots or left to stand outside the terminal.