US officials tightened security measures for US-bound airline passengers on Sunday, including mandatory enhanced screening of all travelers from 14 countries, some on a terrorism blacklist.
Ten days after a failed al-舢aeda bid to blow up a Northwest flight from Amsterdam to Detroit, US transport officials said the new measures were part of a drive to put in place ?ong-term, sustainable security measures.?br />
All passengers flying into the US from abroad will be subject to random screening or so-called ?hreat-based?screens, the Transport Security Administration (TSA) said in a statement.
It also mandated that ?very 虹ndividual flying into the US from anywhere in the world traveling from or through nations that are state sponsors of terrorism or other countries of interest will be required to go through enhanced screening.?br />
The tough rules went into effect from midnight on Sunday and followed the botched Christmas Day bombing blamed on a 23-year-old Nigerian who had recently traveled to Yemen to train with al-Qaeda. He boarded the flight at Amsterdam? Schiphol airport after flying in from Lagos, Nigeria.
Cuba, Iran, Sudan and Syria are currently the only four countries deemed by the US State Department to be state sponsors of terrorism.
But a senior administration official said the stringent measures would include all passengers traveling from or via a total of 14 countries, including Afghanistan, Libya, Nigeria, Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen.
The official refused to reveal the remaining four countries, but the New York Times and the Washington Post quoted government officials identifying them as Saudi Arabia, Algeria, Lebanon and Iraq.
All travelers from or via the targeted countries would be subjected to extra security measures including body pat-downs, advanced screening and property inspections.
Imaging and explosive detection might also be used, he said.
The TSA said the new measures were being introduced ?ecause effective aviation security must begin beyond our borders.?br />
It added that they were ?eveloped in consultation with law enforcement officials and our domestic and international partners.?br />
Meanwhile, Qantas Airways kept 443 passengers on an Airbus SAS A380 for more than five hours in Melbourne yesterday before 苞anceling the Los Angeles-bound flight because of a defective fuel indicator.
The passengers onboard the plane, which was delivered last month, have been put up in hotels or gone home, Qantas spokesman Simon Rushton said by telephone. The flight, QF93, has been 訃escheduled for 11am today, he said.
The passengers were kept on board for hours to avoid repeating the additional and time-consuming checks required for US flights.