US maintains extra airport checks for countries on watch list

US maintains extra airport checks for countries on watch list
# 03 May 2010 12:46 (UTC +04:00)
Baku - APA-Economics. Foreign passengers flying into the United States from 14 mostly Muslim countries deemed to have links with terrorism face continuing heightened airport security checks amid increased nervousness in the US after the failed attempt to blow up a passenger jet on Christmas Day, reported.

The list includes Nigeria – home of Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the failed suicide bomber who tried to blow up a Detroit-bound passenger plane using an explosive device hidden in his underpants – and Yemen, where it is claimed he was trained.

The other "countries of interest" are Afghanistan, Algeria, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Somalia, and four countries the US regards as state sponsors of terrorism: Cuba, Iran, Sudan and Syria.

But emergency measures imposed last week that subjected every traveller to full security checks have been dropped. US airports have been instructed to increase "threat-based" screening of any passenger who may be acting in a suspicious manner.

The screening will include full body pat-downs, bag searches, full body scanning and scans by explosive detectors.

New Liberty international airport in New Jersey was locked down last night after a man walked through a security checkpoint without being screened. Planes were grounded for six hours and thousands of passengers had to go through security again while the authorities went through CCTV footage in search of the man. He was eventually tracked down.

The TSA said the ability to enforce the new security measures was the "result of extraordinary co-operation from our global aviation partners". In a statement it said: "TSA is mandating that every individual flying into the US from anywhere in the world travelling from or through nations that are state sponsors of terrorism or other countries of interest will be required to go through enhanced screening."

Pakistan International Airlines said it had been applying the new approach to US-bound passengers since Saturday. Gordon Brown has confirmed that full body scanners are to be introduced at Britain’s airports.
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