Device found in Dubai package
Photo: Reuters
Scanning Newark Airport
Photo: AP
Cameron. Briefed 18 hours after Obama
Photo: AP

20 explosive devices suspected to be en route to US

British, American press report security forces trying to trace parcels sent in last 48 hours via airmail to European destinations. It is feared packages scattered in various airports, may already be on US soil. Security beefed at airports

US and European security and intelligence forces are working to trace as many as 20 packages suspected to contain explosives which may have been sent to Jewish facilities, similar to the two devices found Friday in Dubai and Britain.


British and American press reported Saturday that intelligence agencies are trying to trace parcels sent in the 48 hours via airmail to various European destinations from Yemen. No additional devices have been found as of yet.


Meanwhile, comprehensive checks are being held at UPS and FedEx branches in US airports. Jewish facilities have also heightened security measures. It is feared that additional packages, if they indeed exist, are scattered around various airports and might already be on US oil.


Consequently, US airports as well as several European sites, have beefed up security. Checks are mainly conducted on cargo planes. Two UPS planes were checked in Philadelphia but found to contain no explosives.

Scans in US airport (Photo: Reuters)


Despite the MI6's involvement in recieving initial information on the terror alert, there is mounting criticism in the UK regarding the handling of the affair. The Guardian reported that initial screening checks of the UPS facility in East Midlands were inconclusive and that only the discovery of a freight bomb in Dubai prompted an additional check.


The Daily Telegraph reported that British Prime Minister David Cameron was briefed about the incident only at 4 pm GMT – more than 18 hours after US President Barack Obama was informed of the affair by adviser John Bernnan.


Al-Qaeda connection

It was reported Saturday that Dubai police said that the parcel bound for the US contained a bomb hidden in a printer cartridge and bore the hallmarks of al-Qaeda.


The parcel contained explosive pentaerythritol trinitrate (PETN) in a printer cartridge, police said. 


"The parcel was prepared in a professional way where a closed electrical circuit was connected to a mobile phone SIM card hidden inside the printer," the statement said. "This tactic carries the hallmarks of methods used previously by terrorist organizations such as al-Qaeda."


The mail bomb plot reaffirms concerns regarding Yemen as being one of the most prominent centers of terror activity in the last few years. The New York Times reported Saturday that a connection has yet to be found between the current plot and former US cleric Anwar al-Awlaki who is currently in hiding in Yemen.


Awlaki is a prominent figure in al-Qaeda online videos and is considered to have inspired the Texas shootings which killed 12 soldiers, the car bomb in Times Square and the terror plot in a Detroit airplane.


Reuters contributed to this report



פרסום ראשון: 10.30.10, 11:34
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