The U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced Friday it’s beefing up security for all international flights into the U.S. from the Middle East in the wake of a fatal crash that killed 224 people last week.
Transport Canada hasn’t said whether Canadian airports will also get heightened security.
British and U.S. intelligence services believe an explosive device took down a Russian jetliner over Egypt’s Sinai region Saturday, killing all 224 people on board.
WATCH ABOVE: New security measures expected at U.S. airports after Russian plane crash
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Russian President Vladimir Putin suspended all flights to Egypt as his government brought pieces of the wreckage to Moscow to test for possible traces of explosives. British Prime Minister David Cameron said Thursday the plane was “more likely than not” brought down by a bomb – a claim dismissed as premature by Russia and Egypt.
Cameron’s statement fueled concerns among airport security officials that Islamic State sympathizers working at airports could open holes in security apparatus for terrorists to exploit.
U.S. Homeland Security didn’t specify which airports are under heightened security and didn’t say what the extra security measures are, although they will include extra screening of items on aircraft and “additional measures, both seen and unseen,’’ the secretary’s statement said.
“At this time these security enhancements are intended only for certain foreign airports in the region,” DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson said in a statement.
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Global News contacted Transport Canada, CATSA and Public Safety Canada for comment on what steps, if any, Canadian officials were taking in the wake of the security concerns but did not receive a response Friday.
Magdy Salim, a retired senior official in Egypt’s Tourism Ministry, told the Associated Press that “airport security procedures in Egypt are almost [all] bad.”
Airport guards regularly skip security checks for friends or co-workers and they often don’t search people “if they look chic or if they come out of a fancy car,” he said.
Salim noted that a donkey was found wandering around Cairo’s airport in April; a stray dog wandered onto a runway and security forces were called in to catch a stray cat ahead of an inspection by international regulators.
French TV station France 24 quoted an unnamed investigator Friday saying “the sound of an explosion can be distinctly heard during the flight” prior to the flight’s crash.