- The Washington Times - Friday, November 6, 2015

The Department of Homeland Security announced Friday that security measures will be stepped up for some commercial flights bound for the U.S. following the crash of a Russian plane in the Sinai Peninsula last week.


Homeland Security Secretary Jeh C. Johnson announced the plan for added security “out of an abundance of caution” while investigators continue to probe whether a bomb may have been responsible for bringing down the plane and killing all 224 people on board.


Though he did not offer specifics, Mr. Johnson said the precautionary efforts would involve “commercial flights bound for the United States from certain foreign airports in the region.” The security enhancements will include expanded screening of items on airplanes, airport assessments conducted with international partners, and assistance to foreign airports related to aviation and airport security.


The announcement comes the same day that Russia announced it would suspend all flights to Egypt until security is improved at Egyptian airports. 
The Metrojet Airbus 321-200 crashed 23 minutes after takeoff from the Sinai resort of Sharm el-Sheikh on Saturday.


“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,” Mr. Johnson said in a statement issued Friday.


Britain has suspended all U.K. flights to the Sinai Peninsula and Prime Minister David Cameron’s office asserted in a statement that officials “have become concerned that the plane may well have been brought down by an explosive device.”


While authorities have not announced any conclusive findings regarding the cause of the crash, media outlets have reported that communications intercepted by American officials has led to the tentative finding that a bomb was planted on the place by the main Sinai-based affiliate of the Islamic State.


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