The United States has stepped up airport security with a list of countries where all passengers heading for America will be subject to tougher security checks.
The new procedures come after a bungled attempt to set off an explosive device on a jet bound for Detroit from Amsterdam on Christmas Day.
Washington has named 14 nations it says are ‘state sponsors of terrorism’ or pose a security risk. All passengers in those 14 countries bound for the US – or those with passports from there – will have to pass a full-body pat down, a hand-luggage search, and they could undergo advanced explosives tests.
New York Democrat Senator Charles Schumer said: “It’s at airports across the globe, where terrorists are trying to slip through the cracks and attack us. The terrorists are smart; they know where security is good, they know where security is lax, and of course, they seek the weakest link, and Nigeria has traditionally been a weak link in airport security.”
American authorities say the man arrested in connection with the Detroit bombing attempt on Christmas Day is from Nigeria, and had started his trip there.
In a sign of the heightened state of alert, Terminal C at Newark International Airport near New York was locked down for several hours, after a man cleared a checkpoint without being screened.
Dutch authorities say they are bringing in full-body scanners at Schiphol airport in Amsterdam for all flights to the US. The British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said his government has also approved the use of sophisticated new scanners for UK airports.