PARIS – Airports around Europe tightened security Monday, some requiring passengers to send their shoes through X-ray machines, after a passenger allegedly tried to ignite explosives hidden in his sneakers on a flight from Paris to Miami.
The French government, meanwhile, planned an urgent meeting to review security at its airports, particularly at Charles de Gaulle international airport outside Paris, where the American Airlines flight originated on Saturday.
Officials from various ministries were to discuss airport security measures, as well as the specific duties handled by airline companies, airport officials and security services, the Interior Ministry said in a statement.
French border police have opened an inquiry into how a man on Saturday with no baggage and explosives allegedly hidden in his shoes could have slipped past security checks in Paris, where airports have heightened security since the Sept. 11 suicide hijackings in the United States.
The man had tried to board the same flight on Friday but aroused suspicions and was questioned. Though he was later given the green light, he missed his plane.
Fluvio Raggi, the director of France's border police, said that airport police had conducted a ``detailed control'' of the man Friday at the request of airline officials.
``This individual was not recorded in our files, so, being in possession of an authentic passport, there was no reason to not let him take his trip,'' Raggi told France-Inter radio. Border police in France are responsible for checking passports at airports and share responsibility for airport security with the Interior Ministry.
The man was subdued by passengers after attacking a flight attendant who tried to stop him from lighting the explosives in his sneakers, according to the FBI. He was charged Sunday in a federal criminal complaint with intimidation or assault of a flight crew causing interference with their duties. He faces 20 years if convicted.
The American Airlines jetliner, with 183 passengers and 14 crew members, landed safely at Boston's Logan airport.
Paris airports beefed up security starting Sunday, increasing the number of patrolling officers and bomb-sniffing dogs at check-in counters and passport control stations, the Interior Ministry said in a statement.
Switzerland's Zurich airport said it would tighten controls beginning Christmas Day and require all passengers on U.S. airlines to remove their shoes to be X-rayed along with carryon luggage.
In Austria, a spokeswoman for Vienna's international airport said that ``shoe controls'' would be made more thorough. Dagmar Lang, the spokeswoman, said passengers' shoes were already ``watched'' and occasionally ordered removed as part of strict security measures already in effect.
The man's identity remained unclear. He was listed in U.S. court papers Sunday as Richard C. Reid, the name on his British passport. In London, Scotland Yard said they believed the suspect was a British national.
French authorities initially identified the man as a Sri Lankan named Tariq Raja, who was traveling on a British passport, citing information from U.S. investigators. But an official with France's border police said Monday that French officials consider the man to be a British national since he had no documents proving Sri Lankan citizenship.
``He had an authentic British passport. Until proof to the contrary, he is a British citizen,'' said the official, speaking on condition he not be named.