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Passengers flying to US to face more screening

The United States is stepping up security by heightening screening on passengers flying into the country.

The US Transportation Security Administration says in-bound passengers from 14 nations such as Nigeria and Yemen will receive enhanced screening procedures.

US transportation security authorities say the enhanced screening techniques include full-body pat-downs, carry-on bag searches, full-body scanning and explosive detection technology.

Anyone traveling from or through nations regarded as state sponsors of terrorism - as well as what they referred to as "other countries of interest" - will be required to go through such procedures.

The State Department lists Cuba, Iran, Sudan and Syria as state sponsors of terrorism.

Some of the "other countries" whose passengers will face enhanced screening include nations such as Nigeria, Yemen and Pakistan.

In addition, all passengers on US-bound international flights will be subject to random screening.

The Transportation Security Administration says this random screening policy applies to any airport in the world for flights coming to the US.

The announcement of the new security steps comes amid rising criticism that American diplomatic and intelligence officials failed to prevent a plane bombing plot on Christmas Day.

Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab was arrested by US authorities after being accused of carrying explosives onto a flight from Amsterdam to Detroit on December the 25th.

The 23-year-old Nigerian got through security screening in Amsterdam, but was subdued by passengers and crew after trying to blow up the plane.

In response to the incident, the White House acknowledged that the plot exposed security errors.

But it played down the need for a sweeping overhaul of the country's security system.