A U.S. Department of Homeland Security K-9 unit was brought in to investigate an unattended bag at 8:30 a.m. local time, authorities said. The terminal was cleared and reopened around an hour later.
There was a brief scare Wednesday morning at John F. Kennedy Airport after a police dog flagged an unattended bag, a day after a terror attack at an airport in Turkey killed at least 41 people.
Around 8:30 a.m., a Department of Homeland Security K-9 unit sat down next to the bag in a non-secure area of JFK’s Terminal 5, Port Authority spokesman Joe Pentangelo said. The dogs are trained to sit down next to items of concern.
Police evacuated the area around the bag and passengers were sent outside along the roadway as the bomb squad was called in.
“A lot of police say, ‘Get out, get out,’” one passenger told CBS2’s Magdalena Doris. “Some people were crying.”
The bag, which contained clothing, was inspected and cleared by police. Nothing dangerous was found and the terminal was reopened about an hour later.
Security has been tight at JFK, LaGuardia and Newark airports since Tuesday’s bombing at Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport.
The assault on yet another soft target has the NYPD and Port Authority police safeguarding airports and other places where civilians gather.
“The security is clearly heightened at this point,” said Bert Shulman, who was picking up a passenger at JFK. “I was waiting over there and no one else was there but the security people moved us out.”
“Security is at high risk, so they are here and it’s a nice presence,” said Pamela Pagan, who was dropping off a passenger.
Some Istanbul to New York travelers dodged the attack by just a few hours.
Anil Ince was on a flight from Istanbul when he heard people talking. He checked the Internet and found out what had happened. He lives in Ankara, the site of several recent terror bombings.
“Yeah, unfortunately all Turkish people are frightened,” he told WCBS 880’s Alex Silverman.
The bombing in Turkey is the second international attack on a major airport this year. The bombing at an airport in Brussels killed 32 in March.
Both attacks happened in public areas of the airports before the security checkpoint and experts say that makes stopping them much more difficult.
“It can be perhaps seconds after somebody gets out of a car, walks into the public side of the terminal and starts the attack,” said John Pistole, President Of Anderson University and former TSA administrator. “It’s very difficult to stop that in each and every instance.”
In a statement Tuesday, the Port Authority said police have “added high visibility patrols equipped with tactical weapons and equipment” at all three of its airports.
“The agency continues to monitor the situation in Turkey and is collaborating with federal, state and local law enforcement partners,” it said, adding that the action is “in addition to the diverse counter-terrorism patrols at various Port Authority facilities following the attack on an Orlando club earlier this month.”
— Port Authority NY&NJ (@PANYNJ) June 28, 2016
The NYPD says there is no credible threat to New York City, but said they are continuing to monitor the situation.