Thursday, 11 November 2010

Yemen mail bombs intercepted in the UK and Dubai

According to UK security officials tests on a failed parcel bomb, detected on a US-bound cargo flight last month, confirmed that the bomb was designed to detonate over eastern US. The bomb, found in a printer cartridge, at a UK airport in East Midlands, was posted from Yemen. A second printer bomb, also sent from Yemen, was intercepted in Dubai.

Both bombs were dispatched to synagogues in the US city of Chicago, and have now been claimed by al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). The first bomb was removed and "disrupted" by explosives officers about three hours before it was timed to detonate.

"If the device had not been removed from the aircraft the activation could have occurred over the eastern seaboard of the US," British police confirmed in a statement.

The White House said the findings "underscore the serious nature of the attempted AQAP attack and the challenge we all face in trying to prevent or disrupt such attacks".

White House spokesman Nicholas Shapiro thanked the UK authorities for the "highly professional nature" of their investigation, and said the US endeavours to work closely with the UK as well as with Saudi Arabia, UAE and Yemen, to counter the threat posed by AQAP.

Both the intercepted parcels had been posted in the Yemeni capital Sana'a, and sent through the freight firms UPS and FedEx. The UK bomb travelled via Dubai and is then thought to have passed through Cologne in Germany, before arriving at East Midlands airport, while the device found in Dubai is thought to have travelled by passenger jet via Doha.

UK officials say the tip-off which facilitated the interception came from former member of al-Qa'ida, Jabr al-Faifi, who had recently surrendered to the authorities.

AQAP has since claimed all responsibility for the attempted attacks, saying it will continue targeting the US and its allies. Yemeni security forces are hunting for AQAP's suspected bomb maker, Ibrahim al-Asiri, in connection with the plot.

Source: BBC News

For more news and expert analysis about Yemen, please see Yemen Focus.

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