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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

Sunday, Jan. 25


Get out your running shoes for the 46th International Road of Life Marathon. Dedicated to the end of the blockade, three runs are offered — 5, 21 and 42 kilometer runs — starting in different places outside the city. Busses leave from 13/1 Arsenalnaya Naberezhny at 8 a.m. but check complete details and registration fees on www.newrunners.ru/race/doroga-zhizni-2015



If you are planning a wedding, head over to the Azimut Hotel, 43/1 Lermontovsky Prospekt from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. The day includes live music, free dance classes and vendors selling wedding dresses, accessories, cakes and services to help make your special day perfect. Admission is free.



Monday, Jan. 26


Feeling stressed by the crisis? The Northwest Coach University at 3 Ulitsa Vostsstanaya is hosting a master class by lifecoach Tatiana Almazova. She will shed light on the coaching process, the usefulness of coaching during times of economic downturn and how coaching can improve your career and business prospects. The event starts at 7 p.m. and admission is free. Pre-register by calling 424 3700.



Discover the State Hermitage Museum's collection of English painting at a lecture by art historian Yelizaveta Renne at the Prince Galitzine Library, 46 Nab. Reki Fontanki. The event starts at 6 p.m. and the lecture will be followed by a concert of arias, songs and duets by English composer Henry Purcell. The event is free of charge.



Tuesday, Jan. 27


Celebrate the 71st anniversary of the end of the Siege of Leningrad on Palace Square with a free concert at 7 p.m. Listen to WWII-era songs and the poetry of Olga Bergholz while you peruse outdoor exhibitions dedicated to life during wartime. The event is capped off by a fireworks display at 9 p.m.



Stop by the Lexica School of Foreign Languages at 73 Ligovsky Prospekt from now until Friday for a free English lesson. The classes start at 7 p.m. and cover all levels, from Beginner to Advanced. Registration by telephone on 7641692 and a desire to improve your skills are the only prerequisites.







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