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US Warns of Terrorist Attack on Ugandan Airport

  • VOA News

Satellite map of Entebbe airport

Satellite map of Entebbe airport

The U.S. embassy in Uganda warned of a possible terrorist attack on Entebbe International Airport in Uganda.

The embassy said on its website that, according to intelligence sources, there is a "specific threat" that an unknown terrorist group will attack the airport Thursday, July 3, between the hours of 9 p.m. and 11 p.m (1800 GMT and 2000 GMT).

The deadline passed without incident.

The embassy said it received information on the threat from the Uganda Police Force.

In an interview with VOA's English to Africa service, Uganda's inspector general of police, Kale Kayihura, said he gave no such warning to the embassy but said police have taken "extra measures" to protect the airport. He added that the airport is safe.

"As I talk now, Entebbe airport is very secure, the planes are coming in and out as normal, and there should be no alarm," he told VOA.

The embassy warned people planning to travel through the airport that they may want to review their plans in light of the information.

Ugandan police have issued several terror alerts recently, warning that the Somali Islamic extremist group al-Shabab may be plotting a major attack on Ugandan territory.

The al-Qaida linked al-Shabab insurgents have claimed recent attacks in Kenya and Djibouti, and at home in Somalia.

Army spokesman Paddy Ankunda said troops had been deployed at the airport and in the capital, some 35 kilometers (20 miles) from Entebbe, the French news agency AFP reported.

Al-Qaida threat

Earlier, Obama administration officials said the U.S. plans to boost security at some foreign airports amid concerns that al-Qaida may be developing new bombs that could be smuggled onto an airplane.

U.S. Homeland Security chief Jeh Johnson said the United States is increasing security at certain overseas airports with direct flights to the U.S. He gave no information on what prompted the latest move or which airports are involved.

On Thursday, the Associated Press cited U.S. counterterrorism officials as saying experts are concerned about a new al-Qaida effort to create a bomb that could be smuggled through security checks at airports.

AFP reported that the increased security focused on airports in the Middle East and Europe. It cited an unnamed official at the Department of Homeland Security.

British airports also stepped up security measures after the announcement from the United States.

Johnson said Wednesday his department continually assesses the global threat environment and reevaluates measures to promote airport security.

Some information for this report provided by Reuters and AFP.

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