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Air passengers facing major delays

Press Association
Thursday August 10, 2006 8:38 AM

Passengers flying out of UK airports faced major delays in the wake of Thursday's anti-terrorism operation.

A raft of extra security measures were introduced including a ban on hand luggage and specific restrictions on fluids.

Police also increased security at airports across the country.

The Department for Transport said that, with immediate effect, all cabin baggage would be processed as hold baggage and carried in the hold of passenger aircraft departing UK airports.

Travellers are only being allowed to take a limited number of items on board by hand, in a single ideally transparent plastic carrier bag and nothing may be carried in pockets.

All passengers were being hand searched with their footwear and all the items they are carrying being x-ray screened.

Any liquids discovered were being removed from passengers.

There were no changes to current hold baggage security measures.

The DoT said: "Regrettably, significant delays at airports are inevitable.

"Passengers are being asked to allow themselves plenty of extra time and to ensure that other than the few permitted items, all their belongings are placed in their hold baggage and checked in."

Source: Guardian
British police foil plot to blow up planes between Britain, US

LONDON - British police have thwarted a major terrorist plot to blow up aircraft flying between Britain and the United States, Scotland Yard said Thursday.

Britain immediately went on its highest alert for terrorist attacks, raising the level issued by the domestic intelligence service MI5 to "critical" from" severe", where it had been for several weeks.

Security was ordered to be tightened at British airports, where departing passengers were not allowed hand baggage except articles placed in transparent bags.

Police said the plot involved hiding explosive devices in hand baggage.

The plan was uncovered in a joint operation by the Yard's anti-terrorist branch and security service that lasted several months, the Metropolitan Police said, adding that many arrests had been made.

British Home Secretary John Reid said on Wednesday that Britain faces "the most sustained period of severe threat since the end of World War II."

He said that while the security services would deliver 100 percent effort and dedication, they could not guarantee a 100 percent success rate in fighting terrorism.

"We are probably in the most sustained period of severe threat since the end of World War II," Reid said in a speech to the Demos think-tank.

He called for all parts of society to band together in a common effort, in his view the only way to assure Britain's common security.

"Our security forces and the apparatus of the state provide a very necessary condition for defeating terrorism but can never be sufficient to do soon their own."

He also warned of "insecurity in the heart of our communities."

Agence France-Presse
New British security measures require plane passengers to taste baby milk

London - Passengers with infants were required to taste bottles of baby milk before being allowed on British flights Thursday as security measures were ramped up due to fears of a terror plot.

Police said they foiled an alleged plot to blow up flights to the United States that involved hiding explosive devices in hand baggage. Police have not confirmed media reports that liquid explosives may have been involved.

Apart from baby milk, which has to be tasted, liquids were being removed from passengers. Other measures imposed by Britain's Department for Transport included a ban on hand luggage.

The department said that all hand luggage would be put in the hold of passenger aircraft leaving the country's airports.

Passengers were being allowed to take only a limited list of items on board, ideally in a plastic bag, and nothing was being allowed on board in travellers' pockets.

Items which can be taken on board as hand luggage include:

-- pocket size wallets and size purses plus contents.

-- travel documents essential for the journey

-- prescription medicines and medical items sufficient and essential for the flight, except in liquid form unless verified as authentic.

-- spectacles and sunglasses, without cases.

-- contact lens holders, without bottles of solution.

-- for those travelling with an infant: baby food, milk (the contents of each bottle must be tasted by the accompanying passenger) and sanitary items sufficient and essential for the flight (nappies, wipes, creams and nappy disposal bags).

-- female sanitary items sufficient and essential for the flight, if unboxed (eg tampons, pads, towels and wipes).

-- tissues (unboxed) and/or handkerchiefs

-- keys (but no electrical key fobs).

Passengers were being hand-searched by security staff, with all their possessions being x-rayed, including their footwear, pushchairs and walking sticks.

There was no change to security measures for hold luggage.

The Department for Transport said: "Regrettably, significant delays at airports are inevitable.

"Passengers are being asked to allow themselves plenty of extra time and to ensure that other than the few permitted items listed above, all their belongings are placed in their hold baggage and checked in.

"These additional security measures will make travel more difficult for passengers, particularly at such a busy time of the year. But they are necessary and will continue to keep flights from UK airports properly secure.

"We hope that these measures, which are being kept under review by the government, will need to be in place for a limited period only.

"In light of the threat to aviation and the need to respond to it, we are asking the travelling public to be patient and understanding and to cooperate fully with airport security staff and the police."

Agence France Presse
Yes, this is the most security ever seen at airports, even after 9/11.
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