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Report: U.S. screening some flight crews

Terror fears prompt increased scrutiny of international flights

Terror fears prompt increased scrutiny of international flights

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) -- New U.S. intelligence has prompted stepped-up scrutiny into whether international airports and airlines pose a terror threat, The Washington Post reported on Wednesday, citing U.S. law enforcement officials.

U.S. security officials were thoroughly checking the identities of international flight crews and had questioned a few people with names that appeared to be similar to those on the FBI's "watch lists" of suspected terrorists, the report said, citing Bush administration sources.

Officials declined to identify the air carriers involved, the newspaper reported.

Passengers coming into at least one major U.S. international airport on Air France and flights from Mexico will be subject to more security procedures beginning on Wednesday, the report said, citing an aviation industry official and two other sources.

Some foreign airlines were planning to have their countries' armed air marshals on board U.S.-bound flights, sources told the newspaper.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security said that it asked international carriers to tighten security in light of the elevated alert for terrorist attacks.

"At this time, our customs and border-protection inspectors are increasing scrutiny of all international passengers coming into the United States," said Department of Homeland Security spokesman Brian Roehrkasse.

The Washington Post quoted law enforcement officials as saying that they were concerned about security throughout the United Sates but in particular in Washington, New York, Los Angeles and Las Vegas.

A U.S. Department of Homeland Security memo to U.S. airports, issued on Sunday and obtained by the newspaper, said the department continues "to receive uncorroborated reports that extremists may attempt to hijack or bomb commercial aircraft both in the United States and abroad."

Copyright 2003 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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