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Terrorists with body bombs may target US-bound planes

April 30, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
As the anniversary of Osama bin Laden's death nears, U.S. and European authorities warn that terrorists with explosives surgically implanted inside their bodies may soon try to bring down U.S.-bound planes.

The troubling warning has prompted security to be stepped up at airports throughout the U.S., Europe and the Middle East.

ABC News has learned that officials are paying special attention to U.S. air carriers, and additional federal air marshals have also been shifted overseas.

It was a year ago Tuesday that President Barack Obama announced that Bin Laden had been killed in a U.S. raid in Pakistan. Over the past year, authorities have said that al Qaeda in Yemen and its master bomb-maker, Ibrahim al-Asiri, have been working on body bombs with no metal parts to help them get past airport security.

Medical experts told ABC News that there is plenty of room in the stomach area of the body for surgically implanted explosives.

"The surgeon would open the abdominal cavity and literally implant the explosive device in amongst the internal organs," said Dr. Mark Melrose, a New York emergency medicine specialist.

Asiri is also believed to be responsible for the "underwear bomb" with which Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab tried to take down Northwest flight 253 on Christmas 2009.

Los Angeles International Airport issued a statement saying it will continue to be vigilant when it comes to security and will monitor all global events.

While there is no credible information on an impending attack, the significance of the anniversary of bin Laden's death has put authorities on alert. They are looking out for anyone walking funny or might have had recent surgery because the explosives cannot stay in the body for very long.


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