Worldview Security Update – May 6, 2019
6-May-19

AMERICAS

United States (Security threat level – 2): At approximately 2200 local time on 3 May 2019 (0200 UTC on 4 May), a Boeing 737 military-chartered aircraft coming from Guantanamo Bay skidded off the runway and into the St. John’s River after landing at Naval Air Station Jacksonville (KNIP/NIP) in Florida. The Miami Air International-operated aircraft was carrying 136 passengers and seven crew members when the accident occurred. All passengers and crew members aboard the aircraft were rescued; at least 22 people sustained minor injuries. Preliminary reports indicate that the aircraft’s left-hand thrust reverser failed at the time of the accident.

ASIA

India / Bangladesh (Security threat levels – 3 / 4): As of 6 May 2019, Tropical Cyclone Fani has caused significant damage in northeast India and Bangladesh after making landfall in India’s Odisha state on 3 May. The city of Puri in Odisha state, one of the worst-hit areas, has sustained significant damage to its telecommunications, electricity and road infrastructure. In Bangladesh, most of the damage occurred in low-lying areas that were flooded. There were no reports of serious damage in Dhaka or Chittagong. Overall, preliminary reports indicate that at least 38 people have been killed and more than 300 others have been injured as a result of the storm. The storm has dissipated, but recovery efforts are currently ongoing in the affected areas. Operations at Bhubaneswar’s Biju Patnaik International Airport (VEBS/BBI) and Kolkata’s Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport (VECC/CCU) resumed on 4 May.

EUROPE

France (Security threat level – 3): On 4 May 2019, France saw the lowest turnout of participants so far during the 25th consecutive weekend of national “yellow vest” protests. A total of 18,900 people participated in the protests nationwide, compared to the 23,600 people who took part in the protests on 27 April. In Paris, approximately 1,460 people protested on 4 May compared with 2,600 protesters on 27 April. Approximately 20 people gathered at Charles de Gaulle Airport (LFPG/CDG) to protest plans to privatize three of the country’s largest airports. There were no disruptions reported at the airport. Police officers detained at least eight people in Paris.

Elsewhere in France, protests took place in the cities of Bordeaux, Lyon, Marseille and Nice. In the city of La Roche-sur-Yon, police officers fired tear gas at protesters who threw projectiles and attempted to march to the banned city center. Five people were injured and police officers arrested 11 people. In the town of Metz, located approximately 300 km (185 mi) east of Paris, nearly 3,000 yellow vest and environmental protesters marched ahead of a G7 meeting scheduled to take place on 5 and 6 May.

Russia (Security threat level – 3): On 5 May 2019, Russian Aeroflot flight SU1492 made an emergency landing at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo International Airport (UUEE/SVO) after catching fire. The Sukhoi Superjet 100 aircraft had just departed from Moscow and had been en route to Murmansk Airport (ULMM/MMK) when a fire broke out on board the aircraft, forcing it to return. At least 41 of the 78 passengers on board the aircraft were killed during the incident. The cause of the fire on the aircraft remains unknown.

MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA

Israel / Palestinian Territories (Security threat levels – 3 / 4): Early on 6 May 2019, Palestinian officials announced that the Israeli government and Hamas had agreed to a ceasefire following several days of border hostilities. In an announcement on Hamas TV, one official claimed that the ceasefire would begin at 0430 local time (0130 UTC). The ceasefire comes after Hamas and Israel exchanged rocket attacks and airstrikes between 2 and 5 May.

The worst of the violence occurred on 4 and 5 May, when militants fired approximately 700 rockets from the Gaza Strip into Israel. The Iron Dome defense system intercepted most of the rockets, but some landed in populated areas. In response to the attacks, Israeli forces launched several airstrikes into Gaza. Four Israeli civilians and 20 Palestinians — including 13 civilians and seven members of the Islamic Jihad militant group — were killed in the attacks.

GOVERNMENT WARNINGS

India (Security threat level – 3): On 3 May 2019, the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi issued a Security Alert that reads in part as follows:

  • “Location: India
  • “Event: Following recent terrorist attacks in Sri Lanka, Americans in India are reminded that terrorists may attack with little or no warning, targeting tourist locations, transportation hubs, markets, shopping malls, local government facilities, places of worship, and other public areas.”
  • South Africa (Security threat level – 4): On 3 May 2019, the U.S. Embassy in Pretoria issued a Security Alert that reads in part as follows:

  • “Location: South Africa
  • “Event: On May 8, 2019, South Africa will hold national and provincial elections. Tensions may be heightened during campaign and election periods. Protest marches and demonstrations can occur anywhere in South Africa, sometimes at short notice, causing disruptions to traffic and public transportation, and with the potential to become violent.
  • “May 8 is a national holiday, so all U.S. Mission to South Africa offices will be closed.”
  • Security threat levels range from 1 (Very Low) to 5 (Very High) and are determined using a comprehensive system that utilizes both qualitative and quantitative analysis. The primary factors used to determine a location’s security threat level are Armed Conflict, Crime, Demonstrations/Strikes, Ethnic/Sectarian Tensions, Graft/Corruption, Kidnapping, Political Instability, Government Restriction and Terrorism.