Chicago rabbi says Yemen bombs targeted gay synagogue
US security official tells Jewish leader one of explosive-laden packages from Yemen targeted gay and lesbian congregation Or Chadash. 'We held Kabbalat Shabbat as usual, but with added vigilance,' worshipper says. Suspect's attorney: I fear she has been unwittingly used by others
The explosive-laden packages sent from Yemen targeted a gay and lesbian synagogue in Chicago, a local rabbi said.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Rabbi Michael R. Zedek from Chicago's lakeside Emanuel Congregation said a security official informed him that Congregation Or Chadash, a sister synagogue housed within Emanuel was thought to be a target.
Or Chadash is a gay-and-lesbian synagogue that shares space with Emanuel Congregation and the Chicago Jewish Day School for children.
Lili Kornbloom, who regularly prays at Or Chadash, told Ynet the congregation's members held a Kabbalat Shabbat as usual despite reports that they were apparently the target of an international terrorist plot.
"The only difference was that security was tighter than ever. We are continuing as usual but with added vigilance," she said.
"We were chosen as the target because we are a Jewish organization from Chicago," Kornbloom added.
Michael C. Kotzin, the executive vice president of the
Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago, said prayer services at the local synagogues were conducted as usual.
Yemeni security forces on Saturday arrested a woman believed to be involved in sending explosive packages that were bound for the United States.
The arrest was the first in the case, which has triggered an international security alert.
The Yemeni suspect's lawyer, Abdel Rahman Burman, said he feared she had been unwittingly used by others.
Shabbat service at Chicago synagogue (Photo: AP)
"Her acquaintances tell me that she is a quiet student and there was no knowledge of her having involvement in any religious or political groups," he told Reuters.
"I'm concerned the girl is a victim, because it doesn't make sense that the person who would do this kind of operation would leave a picture of their ID and their phone number."
One of the packages was found on a United Parcel Service cargo plane at East Midlands Airport, north of London. The other bomb was discovered hidden in a computer printer cartridge in a parcel at a FedEx Corp facility in Dubai.
That package was brought in on a Qatar Airways plane that stopped over in the Qatari capital Doha, the airline confirmed.
UPS and FedEx, the world's largest cargo airline, halted shipments from Yemen. On Saturday, Yemen shut down both companies' operations there, citing security concerns.
Britain halted all air freight from Yemen.
Reuters contributed to the report
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