Officials with the Department say direct flights bound for the United States will face increased security. The extra precautions follow new intelligence reports that Al Qaeda-linked groups in Syria and the Arabian Peninsula are plotting to blow up flights to the United States, using a bomb that could avoid detection by current airport screening systems:
We’ve seen an increase in foreign fighters who have traveled to Syria and other countries in the region and returning. So, we have been discussing a range of steps we can take in a coordinated fashion.
Intelligence officials estimate as many as 7,000 foreign nationals have gone to Iraq and Syria to join the fight, and of that number, the FBI estimates that roughly 100 are Americans, raising concerns that United States citizens with valid passports could return home and carry out an attack on U.S. soil. They add the move is a preemptive measure and not prompted by any specific threat.