The Department of Homeland Security has directed the Transportation Security Administration to implement "enhanced security measures" at overseas airports where planes fly directly to the United States amid concerns about potential summer terrorist attacks.
The announcement comes after military officials raised concerns about al Qaeda affiliated foreign fighters using Western passports to evade terrorist watch lists.
Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said the agency would take steps to minimize the inconvenience to airline passengers as the busy Fourth of July holiday weekend approaches.
"DHS continually assesses the global threat environment and reevaluates the measures we take to promote aviation security," Johnson said in a statement. "As part of this ongoing process, I have directed TSA to implement enhanced security measures in the coming days at certain overseas airports with direct flights to the United States. We will work to ensure these necessary steps pose as few disruptions to travelers as possible."
Air Force Gen. Philip Breedlove said earlier this week that he had "great concern" about a possible terrorist attack emanating in Syria that could involve an American or European-passport holder.
"The flow from western Iraq and eastern Syria into Europe is a very distinct problem, and we are working to address that flow," Breedlove said.
Johnson said Wednesday that the Homeland Security department was "sharing recent and relevant information with our foreign allies and are consulting the aviation industry.
"These communications are an important part of our commitment to providing our security partners with situational awareness about the current environment and protecting the traveling public," he said. "Aviation security includes a number of measures, both seen and unseen, informed by an evolving environment. As always, we will continue to adjust security measures to promote aviation security without unnecessary disruptions to the traveling public."
— Kristina Wong contributed to this report.