(Adds details of Australian incident)
By David Shepardson
WASHINGTON, Sept 7 (Reuters) - The U.S. Transportation Security Administration said on Thursday it is issuing a new security directive requiring enhanced screening of cargo from Turkey.
The change was “to adequately address emerging threats to cargo and raise the baseline for global aviation security,” TSA spokesman Michael England said.
The directive mandates voluntary measures already in use by Turkey and will ensure “cargo flying to the United States is screened and secured in accordance with the Air Cargo Advance Screening Program,” he said.
Officials said the decision to impose the security directive and an emergency amendment was made after an incident in Australia and came in response to intelligence reports.
In July, an Australian man sent his unsuspecting brother to the Sydney airport to catch an Etihad Airways flight carrying a home-made bomb disguised as a meat mincer built at the direction of a senior Islamic State commander, police said.
Detailing one of Australia’s “most sophisticated” militant plots, police said two men, who have been charged with terror-related offences, also planned to build a device to release poisonous gas in a public area.
High-grade military explosives used to build the bomb were sent by air cargo from Turkey as part of a plot “inspired and directed” by the militant Islamic State group, police Deputy Commissioner National Security Michael Phelan said in August.
The plot targeted an Etihad Airways flight on July 15, but the bomb never made it past airport security, he said. (Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Leslie Adler and Bernadette Baum)