The U.S has warned airlines with direct flights to Russia to be aware of possible of explosive materials smuggled on board, hidden in toothpaste or cosmetic tubes, a Department of Homeland Security official said Wednesday night.
According to reports, the warning, issued in a bulletin sent to airlines flying directly to Russia, officials believe that explosives might be assembled in flight or smuggled to the city of Sochi, where the 2014 Winter Olympics will be held. The opening ceremony will take place on Friday.
“While we are not aware of a specific threat to the homeland at this time, this routine communication is an important part of our commitment to making sure we meet that priority,” an official told ABC News. “As always, our security apparatus includes a number of measures, both seen and unseen, and DHS will continue to adjust security measures to fit an ever evolving threat environment.”
According to reports, the security at the host city has been increased, and they have stated publicly that they have immense confidence in their security measures for the Olympics.
According to the BBC, the U.S. has two warships to the Black Sea that are available in needed in the event of a security breach during the Olympic Games, scheduled from Feb. 7 to Feb. 23.
The fear has increased since Russian security is also fighting against threat of militants operating in the Caucasus.
“Out of an abundance of caution, [the Department of Homeland Security] regularly shares relevant information with domestic and international partners, including those associated with international events such as the Sochi Olympics,” the department reportedly said in a statement.
A former airline security chief said the threat will prompt airline authorities in the U.S. and Europe to remove toothpastes and cosmetics from passengers’ hand-carried items and checked luggage.
“Odds are nothing is going to happen, but the odds are higher than for any Olympics, I believe, that something could happen,” Peter King, a U.S. representative and chairman of the House subcommittee on counterterrorism and intelligence, told CNN in an interview.
Suman Varandani works as a Correspondent for the International Business Times, where she covers Entertainment, Lifestyle, Media & Culture and other trending topics.