Latest shoe bomb threat linked to al-Qaeda's Yemen affiliate
By Mark Hosenball
WASHINGTON Thu Feb 20, 2014 4:36pm EST
(Reuters) - The latest warning to airlines about shoe-bomb threats is a
product of heightened U.S. concern about al-Qaeda's Yemen-based affiliate,
whose leaders include a technically-savvy bombmaker, U.S. security sources
said on Thursday.
U.S. Homeland Security authorities on Wednesday issued a new warning about
shoe bombs to airlines which fly from overseas to the United States out of
concern that Ibrahim Hassan al-Asiri, a Saudi believed to have been behind
failed plots to attack airliners with explosives hidden in shoes or
clothing, may have come up with new bomb design innovations to evade airport
security measures, the sources said.
The sources said the warnings were sent to airlines flying to the U.S. from
around thirty airports in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
Among European airports where airlines were requested to take extra security
precautions about possible shoe bombs are Amsterdam's Schiphol, London's
Heathrow and Gatwick, and the airport in Manchester, England, the sources
The warning is not related to the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. It
applies to airlines operating flights from specific foreign airports to U.S.
airports, rather than domestic U.S. flights or flights outbound from the
U.S. to foreign destinations, security sources said.
The security warning, sent to both U.S. and foreign carriers flying such
routes, includes instructions for the types of enhanced security checks that
should be undertaken, including detailed recommendations regarding how to
search female passengers, the sources said.
The sources attributed the latest warning to recent intelligence that points
to possible increased threats posed by devices produced by al-Qaeda in the
Arabian Peninsula, a Yemen-based affiliate of al-Qaeda's central
organization whose leading members include both Yemeni and Saudi militants.
Alleged bomb-maker Asiri has been described by security officials as one of
the most dangerous and innovative explosives experts ever to join the
Believed to be in his early 30s, Asiri became a high priority for Western
spy agencies following his alleged role in planning airliner-related attacks
on the United States in 2009 and 2010.
One such plot was a failed bombing of an airliner over Detroit on Christmas
Day in 2009 by a Nigerian militant who had an explosive charge built into
his underpants. Asiri reportedly was wounded in a U.S. drone attack last
The security sources said the latest warning did not mean that the United
States had intelligence indicating a specific shoe bomb plot was in
It is consistent with concerns security agencies have about militants trying
to smuggle explosives onto airplanes in shoes, cosmetics or liquids. Earlier
this month, U.S. authorities advised airlines flying to Russia for the Sochi
Winter Olympics to watch out for toothpaste tubes that could hold
bomb-making ingredients and could be smuggled through airport security
(F)AIR USE NOTICE: All original content and/or articles and graphics in this
message are copyrighted, unless specifically noted otherwise. All rights to
these copyrighted items are reserved. Articles and graphics have been placed
within for educational and discussion purposes only, in compliance with
"Fair Use" criteria established in Section 107 of the Copyright Act of 1976.
The principle of "Fair Use" was established as law by Section 107 of The
Copyright Act of 1976. "Fair Use" legally eliminates the need to obtain
permission or pay royalties for the use of previously copyrighted materials
if the purposes of display include "criticism, comment, news reporting,
teaching, scholarship, and research." Section 107 establishes four criteria
for determining whether the use of a work in any particular case qualifies
as a "fair use". A work used does not necessarily have to satisfy all four
criteria to qualify as an instance of "fair use". Rather, "fair use" is
determined by the overall extent to which the cited work does or does not
substantially satisfy the criteria in their totality. If you wish to use
copyrighted material for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use,' you
must obtain permission from the copyright owner. For more information go to:
THIS DOCUMENT MAY CONTAIN COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL. COPYING AND DISSEMINATION IS
PROHIBITED WITHOUT PERMISSION OF THE COPYRIGHT OWNERS.