| Code: 12377 |

TIN news:   The United States intends to ramp up international airport security levels at sites which operate direct flights into the country. The increase is happening in light of a perceived air travel security threat involving members of the terrorist group al Qaeda active in Syria and Yemen.
 
Among US officials, the concern is that bombs are in developments that might be smuggled onboard passenger aircraft. Unidentified by name, these officials told news agency Reuters that "certain" European, African and Middle Eastern airports running non-stop flights to the United States could expect tighter security levels to be put in place - these described as "enhanced measures."
 
In a statement, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson elaborated a little, stressing that the US was now "sharing recent and relevant information with our foreign allies and are consulting the aviation industry", this just hours ahead of the annual US Independence Day celebrations on 4 July.

Al-Qaeda Bomb Threat 
It's thought that AQAP - al Qaeda's Arabian branch - and the Nusra Front - al Qaeda's partner in Syria - have linked up to create a new line of explosives which airport screening technologies cannot detect. These bombs, it's feared, could be carried onto airliners by insurgents armed with Western passports.
 
AQAP, officials note, has past form on this front, having been involved in the attempted 2009 mid-air explosion involving a man with explosives concealed in his underwear.

Increased Airport Security
In further comments on the increased airport security, Jeh Johnson told MSNBC that there is "a terrorist threat to this country which remains. We continually evaluate the world situation and if we think there are improvements that we can and should make without unnecessarily disrupting the travelling public, we'll do that. People should not overreact to it or over-speculate about what's going on, but there clearly are concerns centred around aviation security that we need to be vigilant about."
 
In the UK, no statement's yet been made on what airport security aspects might now be changed or tightened-up but, according to the Department For Transport, most passengers won't be significantly disrupted.

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