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U.S. Issues Warning on Toothpaste Bombs Ahead of Olympics

Published: February 7, 2014 (Issue # 1796)



  • Russian transportation officials have banned liquids in airline carry-on luggage ahead of the Games.
    Photo: Wikicommons

The U.S. Department of Security has warned airlines flying into Russia during the Sochi Winter Olympics that terrorists may smuggle explosives concealed in toothpaste tubes on to planes, a congressional security committee chief has said.

The Department of Homeland Security has issued a bulletin to airlines, warning them that the explosives may be used during flights or carried on to Sochi, the head of the House Committee on Homeland Security, Republican Michael McCaul, said Wednesday, CNN reported.

The toothpaste threat is "real" and "based on a credible source," said an unidentified official, adding that the U.S. was "taking it seriously. So are other countries."

Related: U.S. Issues Travel Warning Amid New Sochi Terror Threats

The concern over concealed explosives in toothpaste tubes is mostly focused on flights from Europe and Asia, with the majority of direct flights into Russia coming from these two areas. Delta Airlines and Russia's Aeroflot and Transaero carriers operate some nonstop flights from the U.S., but those flights are much fewer in number.

The U.S. "isn't aware of a specific threat to the homeland at this time," the Department of Homeland Security said in a statement, The Associated Press reported. The department said that it "regularly shares information with domestic and international partners, including those associated with international events such as the Sochi Olympics."

Russian transportation officials have banned liquids in airline carry-on luggage ahead of the Games, and the latest threat may prompt transportation officials in Europe and the U.S. to start removing toothpaste from carry-on bags, a former security chief at United and Continental airlines, Glen Winn, said.

Related: VIDEO: Medvedev Takes to CNN to Reassure Sochi Security Fears

Representative Peter King, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee's subcommittee on Counterterrorism and Intelligence, said on CNN's "The Situation Room" that the airlines and visitors to the Olympics should take the threat "very seriously."

"We are getting some information about what's happening outside of Russia, some external threats, that type thing, or potential threats. I don't want to overstate that," he said.

Security concerns have dominated the headlines in the run up to the Sochi Olympics, given the venues close proximity to the restive North Caucusus region. Last July, Chechen Islamist militant Doku Umarov called on his followers to disrupt the Games using "maximum force."





 


ALL ABOUT TOWN

Monday, Oct. 20


Amateur pictures from World War I are on display for only one more day at Rosphoto’s exhibition “On Both Sides,” chronicling the conflict through the eyes of observers on both sides of the trenches. The price of entrance to the exhibition is 100 rubles ($2.50).



Tuesday, Oct. 21


The Environment, Health and Safety Committee of AmCham convenes this morning at 9 a.m. in the organization’s office.


Take the chance to pick the brains of Dmitry V. Krivenok, the deputy director of the Economic Development Agency of the Leningrad region, and Mikhail D. Sergeev, the head of the Investment Projects Department, during the meeting with them this morning hosted by SPIBA. RSVP for the event by emailing office@spiba.ru before Oct. 17 if you wish to attend.


Improve your English at Interactive English, the British Book Center’s series of lessons on vocabulary and grammar in an informal atmosphere. Starting at 6 p.m., each month draws attention to different topics in English, with the topic for this month’s lessons being “visual arts.”



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