US on Alert for Terrorists With Body Bombs on Planes

Monday, 30 Apr 2012 07:20 PM

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American and European authorities say they are on alert for al-Qaida terrorists who may try to blow up U.S.-bound aircraft with body bombs, ABC News reports.

Security at several airports in Britain and elsewhere in Europe, and the Middle East, has been increased, particularly on planes bound for America, and federal air marshals have been shifted overseas in advance of the anniversary of the death of Osama bin Laden, a year ago Tuesday.

American and European authorities have been increasingly concerned that al-Qaida, particularly the Yemen affiliate, has been designing non-metalic body bombs that would fit into the stomach cavity that could get past airport screeners.

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Medical experts told ABC that there is room in the stomach area for surgically implanted explosives."The surgeon would open the abdominal cavity and literally implant the explosive device in amongst the internal organs,"  Dr. Mark Melrose, a New York emergency medicine specialist, told the network.

U.S. officials publicly say there is no threat, but the White House on Monday said there is concern that Yemen's al-Qaida branch continues to be the greatest threat to the U.S.

Specifically, al-Qaida Yemen's chief bomb-maker Ibrahim al-Asiri has been designing body bombs to get past airport security. Asiri in 2009 placed a bomb in his 23-year-old brother's body for a suicide mission aimed at Saudi Arabian intelligence chief Prince Muhammad bin Nayef. The bomb exploded prematurely and the only casualty was Asiri's brother. He is also tied to other bomb plots around the world.

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