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Saturday 23 August 2014

DAA liaising with authorities as US warns of 'substantial' new air terror threat

Brian O'Reilly

Published 03/07/2014 | 07:24

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Dublin Airport
Dublin Airport
Security check
Airport security checks are being stepped up

IRISH airports are closely liaising with the Department of Transport today after US intelligence warned of a 'substantial' new terror threat.

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European airports are preparing is to step up security after a request to do so from the US based on intelligence reports that militant groups in the Middle East are preparing a new generation of non-metallic explosives that could be carried undetected on to commercial flights.

Siobhan O'Donnell of the DAA said that although no changes have yet been made to security procedure, the airport is closely liaising with the Department of Transport on the issue.

"Any changes to secuirty procedure have to come through the Department of Transport.

"We are closely liaising with them to see if any changes are required", she told Independent.ie

She added that any changes would not be noticed by passengers, and would not lead to any delays during the busy holiday season.

American ABC News quoted a source as saying the threat is “different and more disturbing” than previous plots, which involved explosives hidden in toothpaste, shoes and ink cartridges.

The US has already begun increasing security at its airports and has asked other countries to do the same, in light of the new information.

It has not raised the terror warning level however - believing the threat  risk is still 'substantial'.

It is believed US intelligence has shared the nature of the new threat with European agencies in order to allow new security measures to be implemented.

The specific nature of the threat has not been shared for operational reasons, however it is believed the new security checks will not cause substantial delays.

The developing danger is thought to have been discussed by senior intelligence officials at the White House last week, according to ABC.

The Department of Homeland Security is expected to issue new instructions to international airports where flights into the US originate, including closer inspection of travellers’ electronics and shoes, more random passenger screenings and several other undisclosed activities.

Passengers travelling to the US from Ireland may experience delays as a result.

The new directives reportedly stem from intelligence focused on Jabhat al-Nusra, a group of radical militants based in Syria, who are believed to be working with members of al-Qa’ida’s franchise in Yemen, al-Qa’ida in the Arabian Peninsula, to fashion “creative” designs for explosives to be used to bring down planes. Al-Qa’ida in the Arabian Peninsula was responsible for the so-called “underwear bomb”, a thwarted plot to target a ?flight from the Netherlands to Detroit in 2009.

Britain has already acted on the new threat.

"We have taken the decision to step up some of our aviation security measures," Britain's transport ministry said. "The majority of passengers should not experience significant disruption."

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