New terror threat increases U.S. airport security

DHS is also stepping up security at federal buildings


(CNN) – You may notice a more thorough check at airport security the next time you fly.

The Department of Homeland Security is making changes after a renewed push by Al Qaeda in Yemen to activate extremists living in the U.S. They’re asking them to create new bombs, with the goal of bringing down an airplane or wreaking havoc at the airport.

Amid renewed fears of hard-to-detect bombs being smuggled onto commercial flights, the U.S. is expanding random security checks of passengers in U.S. airports once they’ve already made it through airport security. Those second checks at the gate could include an additional bag search, passenger patdowns, and hand swabs for traces of explosives.

Terrorism Analyst Paul Cruikshank says, “One part is the potential threat to airplanes, the other part is the threat to passengers who are queuing up in a security line, and someone is trying to bring a bomb and blow people up in the security lines.”

The stepped up measures are partly in response to Al Qaeda, in the Arabian Peninsula’s propaganda magazine ‘Inspire’, laying out a new recipe to concoct non-metallic bombs with simple household products. U.S. government officials say airport body scanners can normally catch these hard to detect explosives, but the advanced technology is not available in some smaller U.S. airports.

Cruikshank says, “AQAP says even if it does not get through airport security, enough fuss will be made about people attempting to do this that it will spread terror in the west, and their aims will be achieved.”

This move comes after enhanced security measures over the summer that put passengers on U.S.-bound international flights through additional scrutiny, such as turning on their electronic devices to prove they were not hiding explosives.

Following the latest terror attacks in Paris, and renewed efforts by ISIS to target U.S. government officials. DHS is also stepping up security at federal buildings in more U.S. cities as U.S. law enforcement is asked to stay on a heightened state of vigilance.

DHS says it continues to share intelligence information with other countries and engage community leaders in major cities across the country in an effort to counter violent extremism.

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