Security at British airports has been increased followings warnings from US experts that two terrorist groups are developing a bomb that could bypass existing safety measures, Sky News reported.
US Homeland Security chief Jeh Johnson said he had tasked officials to “implement enhanced security measures in the coming days at certain overseas airports with direct flights to the United States”. However, he declined to specify which airports would be subjected to the extra security measures.
A statement issued by the US Department for Homeland Security said: “We are sharing recent and relevant information with our foreign allies and consulting the aviation industry.
“These communications are an important part of our commitment to providing our security partners with situational awareness about the current environment and protecting the travelling public.”
The Department for Transport (DoT) said the increased security is not expected to cause “significant disruption” to passengers and the UK threat level remains unchanged.
A statement issued by the DoT said: “The safety and security of the public is our paramount concern.
“The UK has some of the most robust aviation security measures and we will continue to take all the steps necessary to ensure that public safety is maintained.”
US officials said the move was due to intelligence reports that Islamist groups in Yemen and Syria had joined forces to prepare an attack on the US.
Bomb-makers from al Nusra Front, al Qaeda’s affiliate in Syria, and Yemen-based al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) are believed to be working together to develop the devices.
The enhancements are likely to include added scrutiny of US-bound passengers’ electronics and footwear, and installation of additional bomb-detection machines.
ABC News has reported that the explosives these operatives are attempting to build include non-metallic bombs that could evade metal detectors.
Prime Minister David Cameron’s official spokesman said: “There are terror organisations around the world that seek to do the UK, its citizens, and citizens of many other countries including our Western allies, harm.
“We need to always be vigilant to situations that can develop.”