Yemen Rising

January 4, 2010

Passengers flying into the United States from 14 countries, including Afghanistan, Nigeria and Yemen, will be subjected to enhanced screening techniques, the U.S. Transportation Security Administration said Sunday.

Starting Monday, all travellers on U.S.-bound overseas flights will be subject to random screening, TSA said. Airports are also directed to increase "threat-based" screening of passengers who may be acting in a suspicious manner.

The State Department lists Cuba, Iran, Sudan and Syria as state sponsors of terrorism. The other countries whose passengers will face enhanced screening include Afghanistan, Algeria, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, Nigeria, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Somalia and Yemen.

The US and The UK closed their embassies in Yemen this weekend over fears that Al Qaeda was planning an attack.

Meanwhile, new concerns are being raised about Yemeni prisoners released from Guantanamo Bay. Republican Pete Hoekstra says some of them are back in action, part of the group taking credit for the attempt to bring down a US airliner on Christmas Day.

"The core group of al qaeda on the arabian peninsula is formed by former gitmo detainees," he said. "These were people who were held in Gitmo, been returned and now gone back to the battlefield."

US President Barack Obama returns to Washington today from his vacation in Hawaii. Yemen, it seems, will be top of the agenda.

Peter Armstrong

Peter Armstrong