Airports on alert over new bomb threat

Last updated 07:12 04/07/2014

Relevant offers

Americas

Danielle McLaughlin: Abortion Rights on Life Support Muhammad Ali's son detained at US airport, questioned about being Muslim US man charged with killing Indian engineer in possible hate crime Homeland Security report disputes threat posed by Trump's 7 travel ban nations CNN, New York Times, other media barred from White House briefing Donald Trump, among friends, uses CPAC speech to further attack media Donald Trump builds legal case for travel ban - reports Former US spy Sabrina de Sousa to be extradited for role in rendition of cleric Kellyanne Conway: Feminism associated with being 'anti-male' and 'pro-abortion' FBI refused White House request to deny media reports on Russia-Trump link

Airlines with direct flights to the United States have been told to tighten screening of mobile phones and shoes in response to intelligence reports of increased threats from al Qaeda affiliated militant groups, US officials said.

The officials singled out smartphones including iPhones made by Apple Inc and Galaxy phones made by Samsung Electronics for extra security checks on US-bound direct flights from Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

US security officials said they fear bombmakers from the Yemen-based al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) have figured out how to turn the phones into explosive devices that can avoid detection at airport security checkpoints.

They also are concerned that hard-to-detect bombs could be built into shoes, said the officials, who declined to be identified because of the sensitivity of the issue.

Airlines or airport operators that fail to strengthen security could face bans on flights entering the United States, the officials said, adding that the US government has consulted with international airlines, foreign governments and airport operators on the issue.

The US Homeland Security Department yesterday announced plans to step up security checks, but they offered few details on how airlines and airports will implement them.

US security agencies fear bombmakers from AQAP and the Islamist Nusra Front, al Qaeda's affiliate in Syria, are collaborating on plots to attack US or Europe-bound planes with bombs concealed on foreign fighters carrying Western passports, the officials said.

AQAP has a track record of plotting such attacks. Its innovative bombmaker, Ibrahim al-Asiri, built an underwear bomb used in a failed 2009 effort to bring down a Detroit-bound airliner, and his devices were implicated in other plots.

There was no immediate indication US intelligence had detected a specific plot or timeframe for any attack.

US officials say the United States has acquired evidence that Nusra and AQAP operatives have tested new bomb designs in Syria, where Nusra is one of the main Islamist groups fighting to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad.

Ad Feedback

- Reuters

Special offers

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content