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Credit: TSA Website
Credit: TSA Website

Israeli aviation experts have expressed “surprise” at the new aviation security regulations announced in the U.S.

The American Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has eased their restrictions on items airline passengers will be allowed to carry on board. The new regulations, according to an announcement by TSA chief John Pistole on Tuesday, will allow travelers to bring small knives, golf clubs and hockey sticks into airline cabins for the first time since 2001.

The new changes, are intended to conform to international rules, and will take effect April 25. The announcement came as Pistole spoke to a security conference in New York, and marks the first big loosening of restrictions for carry-on items since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

Pistole stressed the importance of risk-based screening, to focus on the biggest threats to aircraft rather than holding everyone to the same security standard.

“The focus is on what could present catastrophic damage to the aircraft,” said David Castelveter, a TSA spokesman.

Israeli security experts were quoted as saying that they believe the aviation security system in the U.S. is making a mistake and should not allow any such waivers.  According to one of the security experts who objects to the changes, “I believe that the threats we are facing are bigger than ever and involve more sophisticated tools.”   “Even in Israel where the security checks are very strict such waivers would be ‘unthinkable’”, he added.