LA Airport Takes Steps to Protect Against Portable Missile Attacks

Extra patrols, helicopter surveillance to be used against possible threat


LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Counterterrorism officials have quietly taken steps to protect jetliners at Los Angeles International Airport due to previous attacks against airliners.

There's no credible intelligence indicating terrorists plan to attack L-A-X with shoulder-launched missiles. But because the weapons are easy to buy on the international arms market and smuggled into the U-S, officials want to take the extra security measures.

Over the last year, there's been increased police patrol around the airport, new fencing and stepped-up training to help personnel spot the weapons. There's also expanded helicopter surveillance during terrorism alerts.

Terrorists have never fired a shoulder-launched missile at an airplane in the U-S. But the small missiles have been used to shoot down two dozen commercial aircraft around the world over the last 30 years.