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U.S. Airports Boost Security

August 21, 1998

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Fearing retribution, some U.S. airports began augmenting security measures just hours after the American military struck targets in Sudan and Afghanistan.

On Thursday evening, the Federal Aviation Administration issued an advisory prohibiting U.S. airlines from flying over the two countries. Foreign carriers that have sharing agreements with U.S. airlines also were banned from taking passengers with U.S.-issued tickets over the affected air space, the FAA said.

Awaiting further federal directives on security, some airports implemented added precautions of their own. At O’Hare International Airport, which serves 185,000 passengers daily, officials expected additional foot patrols, more canine units for bomb sniffing and more tow trucks to remove unattended vehicles, said Monique Bond, spokeswoman for the Chicago Department of Aviation. The measures are similar to those taken during the busy holiday season, she added.

Airport officials in San Francisco and San Diego said they planned to increase the presence of uniformed police. In Los Angeles, officials warned passengers to be prepared to unwrap packages and turn on electric-powered devices, such as laptop computers and cellular telephones.

``We’re asking passengers to be patient,″ Los Angeles International Airport spokeswoman Cora Fossett said. ``Some of our actions may make the passenger screening process slower than usual.″

Three years ago, the FAA heightened airport security to prevent possible criminal or terrorist acts targeting U.S aviation. On Thursday, the agency said it was evaluating information and would ``take appropriate action as warranted.″

In the meantime, airports said they would keep a more vigilant eye on security issues.

``We are at the same level we were at yesterday, but there’s definitely heightened awareness from our police department,″ said Rachel Garson, spokeswoman for Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.

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