Report: U.S. to increase airline security amid al-Qaida threat

January 15th, 2010 - 3:10 pm ICT by BNO News  

WASHINGTON, D.C. (BNO NEWS) — The United States is planning to increase airline security amid a purported new threat from al-Qaida in Yemen, NBC News reported on Thursday.

The new security regulations – which are to be announced later Thursday – were not described in detail, however a senior U.S. official told NBC News that the policies would include further in-flight restrictions in passenger movement, more random pre-flight screenings, and an increase in the number of federal air marshals on flights.

“In view of the event of Christmas day we must remain vigilant about the continued threat we face from al-Qaida,” Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said in a statement. “We are taking an additional set of aviation security precautions to protect the American people.”

The new security policies come after U.S. officials said that new intelligence data suggested that an al-Qaida offshoot in the African country Yemen was planning yet another attack on the United States. A British-based Nigerian man affiliated with the group is believed to be responsible for organizing the foiled attempt to bomb a jetliner over Detroit on Christmas Day.

While U.S. officials say the intelligence is considered credible, they would not describe the information or say whether it indicated a specific target or date.

“No one believes al-Qaida […] has stopped planning for attacks on the United States,” an official said. “No one believes that the events of December 25 are the last we will see of these guys.”

Another official said that the information did not come from the interrogation of Umar Farouk Abdulmatallab, who pleaded not guilty to trying to ignite an explosive on Northwest Airlines Flight 253.

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