Egypt tightens security at ports amid parcel bomb fears

Custom authorities at Egyptian ports of arrival have tightened inspections on incoming parcels in light of recent bomb scares throughout Europe, according to assistant finance minister for customs affairs, Gala Abul Fotouh.

The official did not name countries whose shipments will undergo the highest degree of scrutiny. He also denied the alleged discovery of four booby-trapped packages in an incoming cargo load.

Abul Fotouh told Al-Masry Al-Youm authorities are using modern inspection instruments to ensure dangerous material is not permitted to enter Egypt.

In related news, the partial evacuation of Glasgow airport Wednesday night was a false alarm triggered by the discovery of a suspicious-looking bag, police said on Thursday. The scare came amid heightened concern about aviation security after the Yemen parcel bomb plot.

Parts of the airport were evacuated at 7:55PM after the discovery of the bag in an area where passengers are searched before boarding their flights.

The airport remained open during the alert and was accepting flights although departing passengers could not be processed, an airport spokesman told the BBC.

But early Thursday police in Glasgow said the alert had been a false alarm.

"While this incident has turned out to be a false alarm, there's no doubt that the initial action taken by staff at the airport was absolutely correct," Assistant Chief Constable Ruaraidh Nicolson said.

The airport was the target of a failed terror attack in June 2007, when a flaming car was driven into the main terminal building.

Two men were in the car. One later died of his injuries and the second was jailed for his role in the attack.

Wednesday's security alert came after two parcels sent from Yemen and containing explosives were uncovered last Thursday in Britain and Dubai on cargo planes en route to the United States.

It also followed a Greek parcel bomb plot that has seen packages mailed to European leaders and foreign embassies in Athens. Greece has said the plot has no link to international terror but may be the work of Greek left-wingers.

In the US plot, the parcels were addressed to Jewish institutions in Chicago and contained the explosive PETN in ink toner cartridges.

Western governments have imposed new restrictions on freight in the wake of the plot, and Yemen has scrambled to contain the fallout by announcing exceptional security measures on all freight leaving Yemeni airports.

In the Greek plot, 13 parcel bombs have so far been accounted for, including one that reached the German chancellery in Berlin and another found on board a courier plane to Paris after it was diverted to Bologna late on Tuesday.

These were respectively addressed to German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.

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