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Airport security upgrades announced

Australia's government says that it will upgrade airport security around the country and increase police powers in response to an alleged attempt to smuggle an improvised explosive device aboard a flight out of Sydney last year, according to ABC News.

The government will spend over $222-million on improving security equipment and staffing levels at all major city airports plus 13 regional airports.

It follows an attempt to check-in a bag allegedly containing military-grade explosives into the luggage hold of an Etihad Airways Airbus A380 double-decker jet headed to the Middle East last July in a plot authorities say was directed by the Islamic State group.

The airline rejected the bag at the check-in counter because it was overweight. The alleged plot wasn't discovered until weeks later, but two Sydney men were eventually charged with planning a terrorist act.

Under the upgrade, body scanners and advanced X-ray equipment will be rolled out across Australian airports. Inbound air cargo and international mail will be subjected to stricter screening.

An additional 140 police trained to detect improvised explosive devices will also be assigned to airports. They will be supported by police intelligence specialists.

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