New generation of bombs trigger “enhanced“ security at US airports
03 July 2014
Concerned about a new generation of bombs capable of evading detection, the Obama administration yesterday ordered ''enhanced'' security at a number of overseas airports New York Daily News reported,
The new measures would include more intensive scrutiny of electronics and more random pat downs of travelers headed to the US.
"We will work to ensure these necessary steps pose as few disruptions to travelers as possible,'' homeland security secretary Jeh Johnson said in a statement.
The directive comes over concerns that jihadis in Syria and elsewhere were developing an explosive device capable of evading detection during a traditional airport screening.
According to experts they could do that was by surgically implanting non-metallic explosives inside a traveller's body, to make them undetectable in pat-down searches or by metal detectors.
The fighting in Syria's civil war had added to the concerns.
A number of US citizens and others from the west had joined the jihadis trying to topple the Syrian regime, and it was feared that one of those radicalised westerners could carry such a bomb onto a US-bound plane, without arousing suspicions, as the potential bomber carried a western passport.
The Associated Press quoted a US official as saying the increased security measures had nothing to do with the upcoming 4 July holiday or any specific threat. He added the extra security was out of an abundance of caution.
The BBC quoted a US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) official as saying aviation remained an attractive target to global terrorists, who were consistently looking for ways to circumvent US aviation security measures.
According to the official, information about specific enhancements and locations were sensitive. He added, the department did not wish to divulge information about specific layers of security to those who would wanted to harm the US.
According to the BBC, the security changes were not expected to cause big delays at Heathrow - one of the busiest hubs for flights to the US.
The old rules would remain in place and air travellers would still need to put liquids into separate, see-through bags, take their laptop out of their bag, take off their belt and maybe their shoes before going through security.