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Tuesday, January 5, 2010

US airport terminal locked down over security

Washingtoon : Terminal C at Newark International Airport near New York City was locked down early Monday because of a security breach, TV reports said, citing the Transportation Security Administration.

The terminal was being cleared and passengers were being rescreened after a man walked through the wrong side of a checkpoint without being screened.

Joshua Brown of Toronto, who was waiting in the terminal to board a flight for Lisbon, said the terminal lobby was packed with perhaps 2,000 to 3,000 people, waiting for a large number of security forces to complete their checks.

About two hours after the incident, he said, "The security checkpoints are still empty and nobody is queuing up."

Major U.S. airports have been at a heightened level of security since a botched attempt to blow up a Detroit-bound Northwest Airlines flight on Christmas Day by a Nigerian man who had explosives in his underwear when boarding at Amsterdam and who is believed to have been trained by al-Qaeda in Yemen.

U.S. officials announced earlier on Sunday that citizens of 14 nations who are flying to the United States will be subject to intensified screening at airports worldwide

Air travelers from Nigeria, Yemen, Pakistan, Afghanistan and ten other countries will face full-body pat downs before boarding airliners under new security screening procedures targeting foreign passengers, the officials said.

Passengers traveling from or through nations listed as "state sponsors of terrorism" will face heightened screening, an Obama administration official said.

Such passengers will be patted down, have their carry-on luggage searched and could undergo advanced explosive detection or imaging scans, according to the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

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