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December 11, 2018

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Thwarted terrorist plot brings increased airport security, including at McCarran

Updated Friday, Oct. 29, 2010 | 3:37 p.m.

A terrorism scare that prompted cargo planes to be searched along the Eastern Seaboard will bring amplified security measures at McCarran International Airport, but officials emphasized there is no Las Vegas connection to the thwarted attacks aimed at the United States.

The Department of Homeland Security issued a statement, saying that, as a precaution, its office would "enhance security" at U.S. airports after two suspicious packages were found addressed to Chicago-area synagogues and packed aboard cargo jets from Yemen.

Officials then swept airplanes in Philadelphia, Newark, N.J., and New York City. All cargo was given the "all clear."

A spokesman for the Transportation Security Administration’s western region, which includes McCarran, said the enhanced security could include police dogs at security gates and explosive trace devices. He said he couldn't comment on possible longer lines for passengers, although officials noted the problem was with "cargo, not passengers." Flight delays are not expected.

The TSA and McCarran spokesman Chris Jones said none of the suspicious cargo had a connection to Las Vegas. McCarran is the seventh busiest airport in the country.

Authorities in Dubai intercepted one explosive device. The second package was aboard a plane searched in East Midlands, north of London, and officials said it contained a printer toner cartridge with wires and powder. Officials said the devices were in packages about the size of a breadbox.

U.S. officials said they were increasingly confident that the packages were part of a plot by Yemen's al-Qaida branch, the same group responsible for an attempted bombing of a U.S.-bound airliner last Christmas.

President Barack Obama called the coordinated attacks a "credible terrorist threat" amid worldwide fears that al-Qaida was launching a major new campaign of assaults.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said the thwarted plot "demonstrates how risky it would be to isolate America from our global partners."

“We must take this threat seriously. I commend our intelligence community and law enforcement agencies for quickly detecting this potential terror plot," Reid said in a statement. "I support the intelligence community's efforts to thoroughly investigate the origins of this threat, and the security measures that will be enforced to keep Americans safe. This threat reminds us we must remain vigilant and do everything we can to disrupt terrorist activity wherever it is attempted."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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