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Passenger claiming to have bomb tries to divert plane to Sochi

ANKARA, Turkey -- A Turkish official says a passenger claiming there was a bomb on board tried to divert an Istanbul-bound plane to Sochi, Russia, where the Olympics are kicking off.

Habib Soluk, the Transport Ministry undersecretary, told private NTV television Friday that the plane from Kharkov, Ukraine, to Istanbul, landed safely at Sabiha Gokcen airportt.

He says authorities are trying to convince the passenger to give himself up.

News reports said the plane was a Pegasus Airlines flight. A spokeswoman for the airline declined comment.

In Sochi, security was extra-tight not just at the Olympic Park but also around the whole of Sochi, with vehicle checkpoints in place. Media and officials had to go through airport-type security checks when entering any Olympic-related venues and there was a clear police presence on the streets.

Several U.S. and European security officials said Thursday that last-minute intelligence reports about possible Olympics-related attacks have continued to flow into Western agencies and that U.S. and European agencies take them very seriously.

Fear of terrorism have clouded the run-up, fueled Putin's strict security agenda and brought U.S. warships to the region.

About 40,000 Russian security forces are working to prevent an attack on the games, and they stand watch in all corners of Sochi and its Olympic Park on the sea and built-from-scratch mountain ski resort.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security rekindled the fears this week, warning that terrorists may try to smuggle explosives into Russia in toothpaste tubes. Yet some air travelers heading to Sochi have defied a temporary Russian ban on all liquids in carry-on luggage, and brought toothpaste and other toiletries on board unnoticed.

The U.S. Transportation Security Administration announced Thursday that it, too, is banning all liquids, gels, aerosols and powders from carry-on luggage on flights to Russia.

And CBS News Senior National Security Analyst Juan Zarate says there's a chance the ban on liquids could be extended -- and expanded.

"If the threat exists now and if we are worried that terrorist groups out of Russia and perhaps elsewhere are thinking about these techniques to evade security and the current restrictions and protections on airplanes," he said Friday on the CBS News broadcast "Up to the Minute," then they're going to have to think about whether to extend them beyond the Olympics and certainly consider whether or not it applies to U.S. domestic travel. So that's going to be a big issue, because terrorists are trying to target airplanes. That continues."

2014 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

 
 

 

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