Australia ramps up screening after Yemen scare

30th October 2010, Comments 0 comments

Australia stepped up screening of cargo from the Middle East Saturday but said there was no suggestion it was a target after explosive packages were sent from Yemen to the US.

Deputy Prime Minister Wayne Swan said air freight security had been tightened as a precaution but stressed there had been "no direct threat made to Australia."

"The office of transport security has issued a direction to the aviation industry that all in-bound cargo originating from Dubai and Doha must be screened," Swan told reporters.

"That's an important precaution."

Swan, acting as leader while Prime Minister Julia Gillard attends the East Asia Summit, said there was "no information that Australia is a target."

US President Barack Obama said the packages, sent from Yemen and addressed to Jewish synagogues in Chicago apparently contained explosive material and were a "credible terrorist threat."

They were discovered on cargo planes in transit for the United States -- one in Dubai and the other at Britain's East Midlands airport -- sparking an international security alert.

Swan declined to comment on whether Jewish places of worship in Australia should boost their security, saying the main focus was on the aviation industry.

© 2010 AFP

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