US authorities issued an emergency order Monday requiring additional screening of cargo on flights departing for the United States from five Mideast countries, citing a threat of terrorism. The Transportation Security Administration order is aimed at preventing terrorist attacks in response to "persistent threats to aviation," TSA said in a statement. The countries falling under this order are Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates. The countries were chosen because of "demonstrated intent by terrorists groups to attack aviation from them," the statement said. TSA said most of the requirements of the emergency order are already being carried out voluntarily by airlines in some countries, but it didn't identify the countries.
Airlines that TSA said are affected by the order are EgyptAir, Royal Jordanian, Saudia, Qatar Airways, Emirates, and Etihad, although EgyptAir no longer accepts cargo shipments on flights to the US at the request of American authorities, notes the AP. Under the requirements of the order, airlines are supposed to provide certain information on the shipments "at the earliest practical point" before loading the cargo to US customs officials. The shipment information is then compared to information the US has on terror threats.
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