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US: Sprawling airports difficult to defend from armed attack

Horns blare as Polish trucker killed before Berlin attack buried

  Horns blare as Polish trucker killed before Berlin attack buried Truckers honked their horns across Poland in homage to Lukasz Urban, the registered driver of the lorry hijacked in the Berlin Christmas market attack, who was buried on Friday. The 37-year-old's funeral in the northwestern village of Banie was attended by Polish President Andrzej Duda as well as officials from Poland and Germany."We're extremely sad... Lukasz was really good to everyone, he never said no to anyone," childhood friend Danuta Jurewicz, 34, told AFP.

The active shooting that killed five at Fort Lauderdale s airport serves as a stark reminder of the challenges of providing security outside checkpoints at sprawling airports . Armed local police routinely patrol public areas of airports , but sparsely compared to TSA staffing. Jeh Johnson, secretary of Homeland Security, has moved to limit airport terminal entrances and have more uniformed patrols of public areas in airports , such as arrivals and baggage claim.

Sprawling airports difficult to defend from armed attack . A federal law enforcement official, who is not authorized to comment publicly on the case, said Santiago walked into an FBI office in Anchorage, saying that the Islamic State group had gained control of his mind and was urging him to fight on its behalf. The FBI found no connection to terror groups, and turned him over to local authorities for a medical referral. Santiago's aunt reported that he had been hospitalized for two weeks recently after suffering from an unspecified condition.

The deadly shooting at Fort Lauderdale’s airport serves as a stark reminder of the challenges of providing security outside checkpoints at sprawling airports.

Transportation Security Administration officers scrutinize passengers before they board planes, but those officers are unarmed and located inside the airport beyond airline check-in desks. Armed local police routinely patrol public areas of airports, but sparsely compared to TSA staffing.

FBI: Airport gunman traveled to Florida for massacre

  FBI: Airport gunman traveled to Florida for massacre The Iraq war veteran accused of killing five travelers and wounding six others at a busy international airport in Florida appears to have traveled there specifically to carry out the attack, authorities said Saturday.Authorities said during a news conference that they had interviewed roughly 175 people, including a lengthy interrogation with the cooperative suspect, 26-year-old Esteban Santiago, a former National Guard soldier from Alaska. Flights had resumed at the Fort Lauderdale airport after the bloodshed, though the terminal where the shooting happened remained closed.

Jeh Johnson, secretary of Homeland Security, has moved to limit airport terminal entrances and have more uniformed patrols of public areas in airports, such as arrivals and baggage claim.

But the lack of security at terminal doors is a vulnerability that officials have long acknowledged, but that is difficult to remedy because of the prohibitive cost of staffing every entrance.

Evidence of the challenge came in the June bombing of Istanbul’s airport, when three men detonated explosives on luggage carts as two approached a security checkpoint, while a third remained outside. The attack, which killed 45 people, was linked to the Islamic State.

Security experts said the death toll could have been higher if the airport hadn't posted armed guards at the terminal doors. That move came after March bombings at Brussels airport and a nearby subway station killed 32 people.

In November 2013 at Los Angeles airport, a gunman killed a TSA officer and wounded several passengers. The gunman, Paul Ciancia, acted alone and was sentence to life in prison in November, in exchange for pleading guilty to the attack.

President Obama was briefed by Lisa Monaco, his assistance for homeland security and counterterrorism, according to Ned Price, a spokesman for the National Security Council.

In Fort Lauderdale, the shooting occurred in the baggage-claim area of terminal two. Broward County sheriff’s deputies tend to patrol more on the terminal’s upper level, where flights depart, than the lower level where baggage claim is located. After the shooting, deputies’ cars were scattered all around the airport.

The Brussels attacks spurred calls for TSA to move security checkpoints to doorways. But experts pointed out such a move would only push crowds of travelers onto sidewalks or parking lots where they would remain targets.

'Miracle on the Hudson' legacy: 70,000 slain birds .
<p>Birds took the blame for bringing down the jetliner that "Sully" Sullenberger landed on the Hudson River eight years ago this weekend. They have been paying for it with their lives ever since.</p>An Associated Press analysis of bird-killing programs at the New York City area's three major airports found that nearly 70,000 gulls, starling, geese and other birds have been slaughtered, mostly by shooting and trapping, since the 2009 accident, and it is not clear whether those killings have made the skies safer.

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