U.S. warns airlines of toothpaste bomb threat at Olympics

U.S. security officials are warning airlines with direct flights to Russia that explosives hidden in toothpaste tubes could be smuggled onto planes bound for the Winter Olympics.

The warning comes as the Olympic Games start this week in Sochi, according to a bbc.co.uk.com story. Although the games do not officially start until Friday, some qualifying events are being held Thursday.

The Department of Homeland Security said it was not aware of any specific danger to the U.S. right now. But U.S. security officials said there were fears toothpaste tubes could be used to smuggle explosives, which could then be used to assemble a bomb either in flight or on arrival at Sochi. The warnings were made "out of an abundance of caution," which U.S. security agencies regularly share with domestic and international partners.

Russia started banning all liquids, pastes, and gels from its airports and domestic flights last month amid tightening security ahead of the Olympic Games.

The White House said the latest threat had not altered existing travel guidelines for Sochi.

Airline passengers are restricted to carrying liquids -- including pastes, creams, gels and drinks -- in containers no larger than 3.4 oz (100 mL).

Security fears about the Sochi Olympics were heightened following two suicide attacks in Volgograd in December, as well as numerous threats from Islamist militants in the Caucasus region.

The U.S. has stationed two warships in the Black Sea to offer help in a case of a security emergency during the games.

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