Homeland Security calling for increased airport security

Byby Janet O via KGO logo
Friday, November 6, 2015
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The Department of Homeland Security is calling for heightened security measures at many foreign airports that have direct flights to the U.S. This may impact travel out of American airports as well.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- The Department of Homeland Security is calling for heightened security measures at many foreign airports that have direct flights to the U.S.

In addition to the requests to be made of last point of departure (LPD) airports, other security measures being discussed include more diligent baggage screening at major domestic U.S. airports -- to also potentially include matching of luggage to manifest lists before takeoff.

Today President Obama appeared to make reference to airport security when he said that he thought there was a "possibility" that a bomb may have brought down the Russian airliner this weekend in Egypt, killing more than 200 people.

"We know that the procedures we have here in the United States are different than some of the procedures that exist for inbound and outbound flights there," Obama told CBS News affiliate KIRO Radio.

Meanwhile, Egyptian authorities say a bomb is the most plausible reason for last weekend's deadly Russian jet crash after takeoff from Egypt's Sharm el Sheikh Airport, as Russia decides to halt all flights to Egypt.

A government official in Sharm el Sheikh told ABC News that Egyptian authorities can no longer dismiss the possibility that a bomb was placed on the plane and, in their mind, it is the most plausible scenario, adding that a technical problem is now at the bottom of their list of possible scenarios.

Meanwhile, President Vladimir Putin's spokesman says the Russian leader's order to suspend all flights to Egypt does not mean that Russia now views terrorism as the main theory behind the Metrojet plane crash.

Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Friday "it definitely doesn't mean that. Not a single theory can be given priority, since there aren't any definite indications to prove it."

Peskov says the flight suspension will last as long as it takes Egyptian aviation authorities to put "a proper level of security" into place.

A Metrojet flight carrying mostly Russian tourists crashed over the Sinai Peninsula on Saturday, killing all 224 on board. U.S. and British officials fear a bomb might have blown up the plane in midair.

Budget airline EasyJet says two flights have taken off from Egypt's Sharm el-Sheikh airport and are en route to London, carrying 359 vacationers who had been stranded at the Red Sea resort after British authorities grounded flights.

The airline says one flight is headed to London's Gatwick airport with 180 passengers and another with 179 passengers is bound for London's Luton airport.

EasyJet had originally planned seven other flights to London on Friday and one to Milan, but says those have been cancelled. The airline says it is paying for hotels and additional expenses for its stranded customers.

The U.K. grounded all flights to and from Egypt's Sinai Peninsula on Wednesday, saying there was a "significant possibility" a Russian airliner that crashed Oct. 31 was downed by a bomb.

Aviation experts say British authorities are making travelers leave most of their luggage behind when leaving the Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheikh so that it can be intensively searched before being put on an aircraft.

Britain has not disclosed details about its intelligence, but speculation has focused on a bomb in the hold.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.