(WASHINGTON) — The U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced on Friday new security enhancements for commercial flights bound for the U.S. from certain foreign airports in the region, in the wake of last weekend’s deadly Russian jet crash near Egypt’s Sharm el Sheikh Airport, which Egyptian authorities said on Friday was plausibly caused by a bomb.
“While there are no direct commercial air flights from Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt to the United States, these enhancements are designed to provide an additional layer of security for the traveling public, and will be undertaken in consultation with relevant foreign governments and relevant passenger and cargo airlines,” Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said in a statement Friday.
The enhancements include expanded screening to items on planes and offers of assistance to certain foreign airports, the statement said. “These security enhancements are intended only for certain foreign airports in the region,” according to the statement.
DHS is “working closely” with domestic and international partners to evaluate the cause of the crash, the statement said, and will continue to take appropriate precautionary security measures. Johnson said the DHS will “continually assess our aviation security enhancements, and consider whether additional changes are appropriate.”
British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said this week that while the investigation into the cause of the crash is ongoing, there was a “significant possibility” the crash was caused by a bomb, and Britain was suspending flights to and from the Sinai resort city indefinitely.
On Friday, a government official in Sharm el Sheikh told ABC News Egyptian authorities can no longer dismiss the possibility that a bomb was placed on the plane and, in their mind, it is the most plausible scenario, adding that a technical problem is now at the bottom of their list of possible scenarios.
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