India on high alert; airlines fear fidayeen attack

The cautious step was taken after the US warned all international carriers flying directly into its territory about terrorists surgically implanting bombs inside their bodies to carry out attacks.

Dinesh Sharma

New Delhi: India on Thursday issued a high alert directing the airports throughout the country to tighten the security, according to Zeenews sources.

The cautious step was taken after the US warned all international carriers flying directly into its territory about terrorists surgically implanting bombs inside their bodies to carry out attacks.

As per the latest intelligence input gathered by the United States, which is a major target of the terrorists across the world, especially those based in Pakistan and Afghanistan, terrorists are resorting to a much sophisticated method of concealing the bombs within the body to stage suicide attacks on passenger jets and airlines. It should be noted that in spite of the advance in global aviation security technology, the scanning machines are not able to trace the bomb that could be surgically embedded inside the human body.

"This is new intelligence about a possible technique that could be used, however there is nothing to indicate an imminent threat," a senior US security official had said.

Tough measures to maintain strict vigil are expected to be in place at Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi and the Chatrapati Shivaji International Airport, which have flights having last-point-of-departure to the US. The passengers at these two Indian airports might have to go through a tighter security drill as a result of the
latest terror alert.

The heightened communications and activities by the US, it is learnt, are in response to a potential threat, but there is no specific information about an imminent threat
coming from a particular area.

"Such a threat is likely to come from overseas rather than domestically, but precautionary steps are being taken internationally and in the US," the official said.

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA), recently briefed air carriers and foreign partners to provide greater insights into recent intelligence indicating the
continued interest of terrorists to target aviation, its spokesman Kawika Riley, said.

"Due to the significant advances in global aviation security in recent years, terrorist groups have repeatedly and publicly indicated interest in pursuing ways to further
conceal explosives," he said.

"As a precaution, passengers flying from international locations to US destinations may notice additional security measures in place," the spokesman said.

"These measures are designed to be unpredictable, so passengers should not expect to see the same activity at every international airport," Riley said.

Measures may include interaction with passengers, in addition to the use of other screening methods such as pat-downs and the use of enhanced tools and technologies, the spokesman added.

"We will continue to monitor information pertaining to threats against the United States and its interests, and as always, encourage the public and our partners in law enforcement and the private sector to remain vigilant in promptly reporting any suspicious activities," Riley said.

With PTI inputs

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