U.S. tightens security on flights from foreign countries

08:28, January 04, 2010      

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The U.S. government on Sunday released new security procedures for travelers of the U.S.-bound flights from foreign countries, especially seven countries that are deemed "terrorism sponsors," according to local media reports.

According to a report by the Politico web, all travelers from Nigeria, Yemen, Pakistan, Cuba, Iran, Sudan and Syria flying into the United States will be patted down and have carry-on luggage searched under new security procedures starting Jan. 4, authorized by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).

Although tightened random screening efforts are required for all passengers from foreign countries, special attention is given to 14 "terrorism-prone" countries on the State Department's lists of "State Sponsors of Terrorism" and other "countries of interest," where all U.S.-bound passengers will be patted down and have their carry-ons searched as additional security check, said the report, adding that the complete list was not released yet.

The measure was mandated after a Nigerian attempted to blow up an international flight from the Netherlands to the United States with an explosive device attached to his body on Christmas. An al-Qaeda-linked terrorist group based in Yemen claimed responsibility for the bombing plot.

"These are changes that weren't widely in place for all carriers or countries on 12/24," an unidentified senior government official was quoted as saying by the political news website. "These are sustainable measures that are a significant enhancement of our security posture."

The TSA said in a statement when releasing the new security procedures that the directive includes "long-term, sustainable security measures developed in consultation with law enforcement officials and our domestic and international partners."

It also said that all international passengers will be screened and the majority of passengers will be screened using threat-based or random measures.

Source: Xinhua
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