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France bolsters airport security at US request

Security at European airports, Frankfurt, Germany, 3 July 2014.
Security at European airports, Frankfurt, Germany, 3 July 2014. Reuters/Ralph Orlowski

France this Friday is bolstering security at its airports following a US request to enhance screening for direct flights to the United States.

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France joined other nations - such as Britain, Germany and Belgium - and stepped up security at airports after U.S. officials said they were concerned that Al Qaeda operatives in Syria and Yemen were developing bombs that could be smuggled onto planes.

The new measures "will be carried out in a way to limit as much as possible inconvenience to passengers", said the civil aviation authority. But it added it couldn't "divulge the added measures" that are being taken".

Security measures will particularly be felt at Roissy Charles de Gaulle - one of the world's busiest airports- but also in Paris Orly, Marseille, Nice and in French territories such as Tahiti, Martinique and Guadeloupe.

Passengers going to London's Heathrow airport will have a rigorous screening of footwear and electronics items.

Although the US didn't officially give a reason for the alert, concern stems from the hundreds of Islamist radicals travelling from Europe to fight in the Middle East and their return poses a security risk, according to some experts.

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