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Failed attack sparks airline security crackdown

Amsterdam-Schipol airport where Mutallab boarded the US bound flight.
Amsterdam-Schipol airport where Mutallab boarded the US bound flight.

THE United States, US, has asked airlines worldwide to  tighten security after a Nigerian tried to blow up a US airliner he boarded in Amsterdam, Dutch authorities said yesterday.

Officials said they were probing how the man smuggled explosives through security at Amsterdam-Schipol airport.

“We are investigating from where he came, through which security barriers he passed and his travel itinerary,” Judith Sluiter, spokeswoman for the national coordinator against terrorism (NCTB) in The Hague said.

Counter terrorism advisor to the American House of Representatives, Professor Walid Fares, says it appears Al Qaeda is stepping up attacks on America. “At least from the American perspective this is number 13 in one year,” he said.

“This operation was designed to take place over US skies or US soil. So, I would put it in the framework of an escalation of operations against the United States.” Ms Sluiter refused to confirm reports that he arrived in Amsterdam on a KLM flight from Lagos.

Meanwhile the NCTB said in a statement that US authorities had asked airline companies to take extra security measures. “The extra measures will apply throughout the world on all flights to the United States for an unlimited duration,” it said.

“It will involve, for example, frisking passengers and extra checks on hand baggage,” Ms Sluiter said. The extra measures came into force yesterday morning in the Netherlands, which received a formal request from the US authorities during the night, she said.

Dutch authorities: Suspect had valid US visa
THE man who tried to blow up a US airliner on a flight from Amsterdam had flown from Nigeria with a valid US visa, Dutch authorities said yesterday.

“The man arrived from Lagos at Amsterdam-Schiphol and took a connecting flight to Detroit,” a statement from the office of the Netherlands anti-terrorism coordinator (NCTB) said. “The Nigerian who was arrested had a valid US visa,” the statement said.

“Initial inquiries indicate that before the departure of the flight for the United States, Northwest Airlines communicated the list of passengers in line with standard procedures to the American authorities with their personal data, including those of the suspect.” US authorities then gave clearance for the flight to depart, the NCTB said.


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