US alerts airports to al-Qa'ida bomb plot
THE US is calling for tighter security measures at some foreign airports, as intelligence officials are concerned about a new al-Qa'ida effort to create a bomb that would go undetected through airport security, a counter-terrorism official said.
American intelligence has picked up indications that bomb-makers from al-Qa'ida's Yemen affiliate have travelled to Syria to link up with the al-Qa'ida affiliate there.
The groups are working to perfect an explosive device that could foil airport security, the official added.
Americans and others from the West have travelled to Syria over the past year to join al Nusra Front's fight against the Syrian government.
The fear is that fighters with a US or Western passport – and therefore subject to less stringent screening – could carry such a bomb on to a US plane.
Al-Qa'ida's affiliate in Yemen was behind failed and thwarted plots involving suicide bombers with explosives designed to hide inside underwear and explosives hidden inside printer cartridges shipped on cargo planes.
Officials in the past have raised concerns about non-metallic explosives being surgically implanted inside a body, designed to be undetectable in pat-downs or metal detectors.
The call for increased security was not connected to Iraq or the violence there, said a second US counter-terrorism official.
Meanwhile, the State Department has instructed US Embassy employees in Algeria to avoid US-owned or operated hotels through July 4 and the Algerian Independence Day on July 5.