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Package at JFK airport no threat, Port Authority official says

Kennedy Airport in Queens on June 19, 2016.

Kennedy Airport in Queens on June 19, 2016. A Port Authority police spokesman said normal operations have resumed on Wednesday, June 29, after an unattended bag was found at the airport. Credit: Anthony Lanzilote

A terminal at Kennedy Airport was evacuated Wednesday morning after a Homeland Security K-9 unit “indicated” an unattended bag might contain an explosive device, but a Port Authority police spokesman said the package was later cleared — and normal operations were resumed within about an hour.

Port Authority spokesman Joseph Pentangelo said the incident occurred at Terminal 5 at about 8:30 a.m. and that the Bomb Squad was contacted to examine the package. He said Port Authority police later cleared the bag and normal operation at the terminal had resumed before 9:45 a.m.

Security details have been on heightened alert at area airports, with stepped up presence and patrols, after the attack at Ataturk Airport in Istanbul, Turkey, on Tuesday — an attack Turkish and international authorities believe might be the work of Islamic State group militants, though no one group has yet claimed responsibility. The attack, believed to be the work of two or three suicide bombers, left at least 41 dead and scores more wounded, officials said Wednesday.

Port Authority police said in the wake of the attack in Turkey that patrols had been increased at Kennedy, LaGuardia and Newark-Liberty airports, with “high-visibility” patrols equipped with tactical weapons. Those patrols are in addition to the counterterrorism units already placed at a host of Port Authority facilities after the shooting massacre this month in Orlando.

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