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Airport security ramped up over US bomb fears

Published on Jul 3, 2014 10:54 PM

LONDON (AFP) - US-bound travellers from Europe and the Middle East faced tighter airport security Thursday due to fears that Muslim extremists are developing new explosives that could be slipped onto planes undetected.

The stepped-up security checks were ordered as the US embassy in Uganda warned of a "specific threat" to attack Kampala's Entebbe international airport on Thursday between 1800 and 2000 GMT. Although the embassy did not name any group, Al-Qaeda linked Shebab insurgents have claimed recent attacks in neighbouring Kenya and Djibouti, and at home in Somalia.

US Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson announced the extra security on direct flights to the United States from some overseas airports on Wednesday, without citing evidence of any specific plot. The move comes amid broader Western intelligence concerns that hundreds of Islamist radicals travelling from Europe to fight in the Middle East could pose a security risk on their return.

On Sunday, US President Barack Obama warned that "battle-hardened" Europeans who embrace jihad in Syria and Iraq threaten the United States because their passports mean they can enter without a visa.

UPDF soldiers and police forces patrol streets in Kampala with a tactical operation vehicle on July 3 2014 after the US embassy in Uganda warned on Thursday of a "specific threat" by an unknown group to attack Entebbe international airport, which serves the capital Kampala. -- PHOTO: AFP
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