Explosives Found in Cargo, Obama Says

Discussion in 'International Politics' started by SHASH2K2, Oct 30, 2010.

  1. SHASH2K2

    SHASH2K2 New Member

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    Two Air Force F-15 warplanes escorted a civilian passenger plane from the United Arab Emirates into John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York, as President Obama prepared to speak to reporters about a widening investigation into suspicious packages shipped to the United States by air from Yemen.
    The rare military escort for a civilian flight heightened the drama of the still unfolding terrorism investigation, as officials isolated cargo planes at two other American airports and searched a delivery truck in Brooklyn for packages said to have been sent from Yemen to addresses in the United States.

    None of those packages proved to be dangerous, but officials in Dubai found one that contained explosive material, and another — the first one to be discovered, in Britain — contained a device that appeared similar to an improvised bomb but contained no explosives.

    Cable news networks trained cameras on the skies over New York as the passenger jet, Emirates Flight 201, arrived and landed safely. An American military spokesman said that two Canadian CF-18 combat aircraft were diverted from a training mission to trail the flight across Canadian air space, and when it passed into American air space, two Air Force F-15 warplanes took over escort duties.

    A federal law enforcement official said that the plane had a package on board that had originated in Yemen and had some characteristics suggesting that it might be related to the suspicious packages found in Britain and Dubai. The official was not clear about what that connection might be, but suggested that it would be something like a matching address.

    While there was no indication that any passenger on board the plane posed a security risk, the official said, the Canadian military made the original decision to provide fighter jet escorts as a precaution, and the United States decided to follow suit.

    The official said that the two earlier suspicious packages were addressed to religious institutions. One was to a synagogue, the official said, while the other was addressed to an institution from a different religion.

    President Obama was scheduled to speak to reporters att he White House at 4:15 p.n. Eastern time about the security activity. The White House said the president would be joined by John Brennan, the assistant to the president for homeland security and counterterrorism.

    The decision to put Mr. Obama in front of reporters late in the afternoon — and just four days before the election — suggested that the White House wanted to show that it was quickly engaged in the developing situation. After the attempted Christmas Day bombing of a Detroit-bound flight last year, Mr. Obama’s White House did not speak publicly about the incident for several days, drawing criticism from Republicans. The roots of that attempted bombing were traced to Yemen as well.

    The flurry of security activity on two continents began in the early hours of Friday in Britain, when a suspicious package was spotted in a UPS cargo sorting facility at East Midlands Airport in Donington, England, near Birmingham and 100 miles north of London. The shipping facility was evacuated.

    In the package, officials found a toner cartridge that appeared to have been tampered with in a way that made it resemble an improvised bomb. But tests for the presence of explosives were negative, a law enforcement official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity because the investigation was continuing.

    The official did not have specific details on what was found, but added that it was “not an explosive.” The Associated Press and CNN reported that the toner cartridge had wires and an electronic circuit board attached to it and that it was covered with a white powder.

    An alert at the East Midlands airport was raised at 3.30 a.m. local time and later lifted, only to be reimposed at 2 p.m. on Friday. Four hours later, a wide area around the cargo center remained cordoned off, with police and counter-terrorist units searching the area.

    A statement posted on the UPS web site said the company was cooperating closely with authorities in Britain and the United States. “Because these incidents are still being investigated, we don’t have any further details.” the statement said.
    Hours later, officials isolated UPS cargo planes that landed at Philadelphia and Newark airports on Friday morning because they were carrying packages that appeared to have the same origin as the suspicious device discovered in Britain. A UPS truck in Brooklyn was also stopped and checked on Friday. Those packages were not found to pose any danger.

    The government in Yemen has begun an investigation, its embassy in Washington said in a statement. “We are working closely with international partners — including the U.S. — on the incident,” Mohammed Albasha, a spokesman for the embassy, said in the statement. He noted that no UPS cargo planes land or take off from Yemeni airports, nor are there direct flights to Britain or the United States from Yemen.

    But FedEx does ship out of Yemen, and on Friday, FedEx officials said that the Federal Bureau of Investigation confiscated a suspicious package at the company’s facility in Dubai. “The shipment originated in Yemen, and as an additional safety measure, FedEx has embargoed all shipments originating from Yemen,” a statement on the company Web site said. “The company is cooperating fully with the authorities on this matter; any additional information regarding this matter must come from the F.B.I.”

    A statement posted on the UPS web site said the company was cooperating closely with authorities in Britain and the United States. “Because these incidents are still being investigated, we don’t have any further details.” the statement said.

    Federal officials warned synagogues in the Chicago metropolitan area to be on alert, said Linda Haase, associate vice president of the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago.

    “We were notified about this earlier this morning,” Ms. Haase said in an interview. “We are taking appropriate precautions and we’re advising local synagogues to do the same.”

    By the afternoon, Jewish institutions throughout the nation were being told by the Anti-Defamation League to step up their security. “Law enforcement asked us to reach out to the Jewish community to be on alert, to be vigilant, in particular for packages,” Steven Sheinberg, the director of community security at the League said in an interview. “We have heard of no specific threat, but these things are unfolding and progressing.”

    He added that organizations are experienced at dealing with increased security, and that in advance of the sabbath, which begins at sundown on Friday, “people shouldn’t be scared to go to the Jewish communal institutions tonight.”

    As news of the alerts and investigations unfolded throughout the day, government institutions confirmed that officials in the United States, at least, did not find any threatening materials in the packages.

    The Transportation Security Administration said in a statement that it was “aware of and monitoring reports of potentially suspicious items onboard cargo flights that landed safely at Newark Liberty and Philadelphia International airports. Out of an abundance of caution, the planes were moved to a remote location where they are being met by law enforcement officials and swept.”

    Shortly after noon, a spokesman for Newark Liberty International Airport, Steve Coleman, said the package that officials sought on the plane there “has been cleared.”

    Mr. Coleman said that the item in question was examined in Building 350, the UPS building at the airport, and “was deemed non-threatening.”

    At a press briefing, New York Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly said investigators had examined a package on a UPS delivery truck at the Chase Bank branch at the Metrotech complex in Brooklyn. The package had come from Yemen and passed through Kennedy Airport, Commissioner Kelly said, and it fit a pattern of such packages. It turned out to be an envelope containing receipts, he said, and posed no threat; neither did another package on the truck that looked similar, he said. Mr. Kelly gave little detail about how the packages came to the attention of the department, except to say their origin in Yemen was a factor.

    CNN reported that Philadelphia Fire Department officials had examined a package found on a UPS cargo plane isolated at the airport there, and found it to be harmless.

    American military officials have increased their support to Yemen after a Nigerian man suspected of training with Al Qaeda in Yemen tried and failed to explode a bomb hidden in his underwear on a Detroit-bound jetliner on Christmas Day.

    The alert in Britain came just two days after the country’s transport minister said he would listen sympathetically to demands from airlines that security measures for passengers at British airports be eased.

    That followed a speech by Martin Broughton, the chairman of British Airways, who criticized the United States for “redundant” checks like screening passengers’ shoes and requiring laptops to be removed from carry-on bags at checkpoints.

    Mr. Broughton said there was no need to “kowtow to the Americans every time they want something done.”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/30/us/30plane.html?pagewanted=2&_r=1&hp
     
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  3. Vladimir79

    Vladimir79 Defence Professionals Defence Professionals

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    Just play it safe and ban all passengers and cargo originating in Yemen. Not like their travel is so important to the world economy.
     
  4. The Messiah

    The Messiah Bow Before Me! Elite Member

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    Now parcel ive ordered will take longer to come :angry_6:
     
  5. maomao

    maomao Veteran Hunter of Maleecha Senior Member

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    Obama is like a Spoilt Brat, Bush was zillion times better than bafoon!
     
  6. The Messiah

    The Messiah Bow Before Me! Elite Member

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    I bet its an inside job...
     
  7. Tshering22

    Tshering22 Sikkimese Saber Senior Member

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    LOL! Vladimir, Yemen is not the only problem. The list will then have to include:

    - Pakistan
    - Afghanistan
    - Iran
    - Syria

    And at least another dozen affiliated fundamentalist countries that have weak governments and strong havens of terrorist networks. Yemen is only a branch; the problem originates and connects from 3 areas: Somalia and Saudi Arabia, which act as launch pads to radicals in the guise of religious students, where these radicals particularly Western countries brought-up Pakistanis and new converts from radical branches go and straight take flights to Pakistan and into the Af-Pak region for terror training. Loose laws, corrupt bureaucracy and an inbuilt sympathy for terror makes it easier for training in Af-Pak.. mainly Pakistan's northern infamous Khyber Pass. The region has trained many of your Chechn terrorists as well. In fact a lot of their tactics are typical of the ones that our military has faced.

    The core of this is AF-PAK and if something has to be done about this, all countries must come to AFPAK.
     
  8. The Messiah

    The Messiah Bow Before Me! Elite Member

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    In shorter terms:

    Capital: Saudi Arabia
    Factory: Pakistan
    Board of Directors: ISI, Pak Army, Saudi Royal Family, CCP, CIA
    Management: Bigoted bearded loonies
    Workers: Unemployed, uneducated and duffers mainly from land of pure (pakistan) and middle east.
     
  9. ejazr

    ejazr Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

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    Saudi Arabia helped spot Yemen threat: White House

    WASHINGTON: Saudi Arabia helped identify the security threat from Yemen, the White House said on Friday, after two packages containing explosives were discovered aboard cargo planes bound for the United States.

    “The United States is grateful to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for their assistance in developing information that helped underscore the imminence of the threat emanating from Yemen,” said John Brennan, President Barack Obama’s adviser on counter terrorism.

    Obama indicated that he suspected Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula had been behind the attempt to send the packages to “two places of Jewish worship in Chicago.”

    Brennan said in a statement that the Saudis, as well as officials in Britain, the United Arab Emirates and “other friends and partners,” had assisted the United States in identifying the suspicious packages in Dubai and at Britain's East Midlands Airport.

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    Al Qaedais a bigger threat to the Saudi Royal family than American or other western countries. If only Pakistan was able to realise and turn the page like Saudis have done on continuing to use extrmist groups which are left over of the anti-left cold war era, this whole extremist takfeerin business would be over in five years. Unfortuantely while the Saudis have wholeheartedly embraced this, the Pakistanis, particularly the security establishment is to tangled up and doesn't want to make that change.
     
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2010
  10. Oracle

    Oracle New Member

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    :emot112: :emot112: :happy_2: :happy_2: :happy_3: :happy_3:
     
  11. SHASH2K2

    SHASH2K2 New Member

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    U.S. Hunts for More Suspicious Packages


    WASHINGTON — Two packages containing explosives, shipped from Yemen and addressed to synagogues in Chicago, were intercepted in Britain and Dubai, setting off a broad terrorism scare on Friday that included the scrambling of fighter jets to accompany a passenger flight as it landed safely in New York. President Obama said the explosives represented a “credible terrorist threat” to the United States.
    The discovery of the explosives packed in toner cartridges for computer printers, based on a tip from Saudi intelligence officials, began an urgent hunt for other suspicious packages in the United States and other countries.

    The police in Dubai on Saturday confirmed that the bomb discovered in its country in cargo from Yemen bound for the United States contained the explosive PETN, the same chemical explosive in the bomb sewn into the underwear of the Nigerian man who tried to blow up an airliner over Detroit last Dec. 25. That plot, too, was hatched in Yemen, a country that is regarded as one of the most significant fronts in the battle with extremists.

    According to the Associated Press, the Dubai police said that tests showed the printer cartridge also contained lead azide, an explosive compound that can be used in bomb detonators. British forensic officials on Saturday were examining the device found in their country, Reuters reported.

    The Dubai police said that they were tipped off to the device by a call from abroad but did not name the country. The police said that the tip warned of the possibility of an explosive device hidden in postal packages onboard a FedEx flight originating from the Yemeni capital of Sana to Dubai, according to a statement released by the official state news agency WAM and reported by The Associated Press.

    “The plot style carries features similar to previous attacks carried out by terrorist organizations like al-Qaeda,” the Dubai police said.

    The white powder explosives were discovered in the printer’s ink cartridge, the statement continued, and were rigged to an electric circuit.

    “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.

    The statements released by the Dubai police followed information given by American officials on Friday, when Representative Jane Harman, a California Democrat on the House Homeland Security Committee, had said that the packages seized in Britain and Dubai contained PETN. Ms. Harman, who was briefed by John S. Pistole, administrator of the Transportation Security Administration, also said that both packages contained computer printer cartridges filled with the explosive, with one using a cellphone as a detonator and the other a timer.

    President Obama had been briefed on developments starting at 10:35 p.m. on Thursday.

    “The events of the past 24 hours underscores the necessity of remaining vigilant against terrorism,” Mr. Obama said in a brief statement to reporters at the White House on Friday afternoon. He praised the work of intelligence and counterterrorism officials in foiling the plot.

    “The American people should be confident that we will not waver in our resolve to defeat Al Qaeda and its affiliates and to root out violent extremism in all its forms,” the president said.

    News of the terrorist plot came as Mr. Obama was barreling into the last four days of campaigning before midterm elections on Tuesday, and White House officials appeared determined to project the appearance of a commander in chief who was on top of the developments.

    Intelligence officials in Saudi Arabia tipped off the United States to the plot to ship explosives from Sana, the Yemeni capital, American officials said. Saudi Arabia, which borders Yemen, closely monitors militants there, who have plotted against the Saudi monarchy and sent a suicide bomber last year in an unsuccessful attempt to assassinate the Saudi counterterrorism chief.

    Representative Peter T. King, Republican of New York and the top Republican on the Homeland Security Committee, whose office was briefed on the episode, said the tip about the explosives was precise. “We knew what we were looking for, and we knew where to look,” he said.

    Mr. King, who has often been a critic of the administration and intelligence agencies that have at times missed warning signs of attacks, said, “So far everything has worked the right way.”

    John O. Brennan, the president’s top counterterrorism adviser, said that the packages containing explosives, which he compared in size to a “breadbox,” were undergoing forensic analysis and that the inquiry was at an early stage. He said investigators did not yet know how the explosives were intended to be activated.

    He said the search for additional explosives was continuing. “We don’t want to presume we know the bounds of this plot, so we are looking at all packages,” Mr. Brennan said.
    The latest plot underscored once again the threat from Yemen and Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, the branch of the terrorism network based there. Mr. Brennan called it “the most active operational franchise of Al Qaeda.”
    Indeed, Yemen, once little known to most Americans, has been the source of some of the most dramatic terrorism attempts of recent years. American intelligence officials have said that Anwar al-Awlaki, an American-born radical cleric now hiding in Yemen, played a direct role in the Christmas Day airliner plot, and he has publicly called for more attacks on the United States.

    In addition, an Army psychiatrist charged with killing 13 people at Fort Hood, Texas, a year ago had exchanged e-mails with Mr. Awlaki beforehand. Mr. Awlaki’s lectures and sermons have been linked to more than a dozen terrorist investigations in the United States, Britain and Canada, and Faisal Shahzad, who tried to set off a car bomb in Times Square in May, cited Mr. Awlaki as an inspiration.

    Yemeni raids and American missile strikes have repeatedly targeted Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula since December, and early this year Mr. Awlaki became the first American citizen to be placed on the Central Intelligence Agency’s list of suspected terrorists to be captured or killed. So far no evidence has been made public linking Mr. Awlaki to the latest plot.

    A spokesman for the Yemeni Embassy in Washington, Mohammed Albasha, said Yemen’s government “launched a full-scale investigation” and was working closely with the United States and other countries to assess the episode.

    Mr. Brennan, who spoke early Friday with the Yemeni president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, said Yemen’s cooperation in the fight against terrorism had steadily improved. “We’re working very closely with them, and we have found that they are courageous partners,” he said.

    Mr. Brennan also praised the Saudis, saying, “Their quick action was responsible for preventing what might have been major terrorist attacks with significant loss of life.”

    The plot unfolded in dramatic fashion on international television, with scenes of security teams surrounding cargo planes in several countries, military fighters accompanying a passenger plane into New York and a grim-faced president and his aides, many of whom had spent a sleepless night.

    One of the packages was found aboard a U.P.S. cargo plane at East Midlands Airport near Nottingham, England, officials said. A second, similar package was removed from a FedEx flight in Dubai, they said.

    Neither company has flights into or out of Yemen, but they offer shipping from Yemen and contract with other companies to move freight from there to hubs in Europe and elsewhere in the Middle East.

    Cargo planes were moved to secure areas of airports in Philadelphia and Newark for searches, and a United Parcel Service truck in Brooklyn was stopped and inspected. No additional explosives had been discovered by late Friday.

    The episode is likely to reignite a long-running debate over the screening of freight aboard cargo planes. Only a small percentage of such freight is currently screened, though in 2007 Congress directed the Transportation Security Administration to screen all cargo carried on passenger flights starting this year.

    Administration officials said they had no reason to believe the Chicago addresses were connected to Mr. Obama’s plans to be in Chicago on Saturday night. They said the decision to have the president speak publicly about the plot was made partly because of confusing and contradictory reports on television on Friday.

    After a suspicious package was reported to be aboard a flight from the United Arab Emirates to New York, Canadian and American fighters were scrambled to accompany it. The flight landed in New York City on Friday afternoon without incident, and no explosives were found.

    David Packles, 23, a financial analyst from New York who was aboard the plane, Emirates Flight 201 from Dubai, said he did not spot any military aircraft or notice any unusual security precautions, except for a 20-minute delay before passengers were permitted to leave the plane.

    “To think there were fighter jets escorting the plane really, really blows my mind right now,” he said.

    Two U.P.S. cargo planes at the Philadelphia airport and another in Newark were moved to safe areas away from terminals and searched before being cleared. A U.P.S. truck in New York City was stopped and searched as well, and two items from Yemen were inspected, the police said.

    Counterterrorism officials declined to identify the synagogues to which the suspicious packages found in Dubai and Britain were addressed; they did say they did not include KAM Isaiah Israel, which is across the street from Mr. Obama’s Hyde Park home.

    Synagogues in Chicago were scheduled to hold regular services on Saturday, said Rabbi Michael Balinsky, executive vice president of the Chicago Board of Rabbis. “It’s obviously disturbing,” he said of the news that Chicago might have been the focus of a plot, “but certainly the Jewish community will proceed as it proceeds. We’ll just exercise caution.”
     
  12. ejazr

    ejazr Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

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    The road to victory in the war on terror passes through Riyadh
    S. Rob Sobhani

    The recently foiled terror plot that uncovered two bombs aboard airplanes headed for Chicago underscores Al-Qaeda's ongoing determination to strike at American targets. How the plot was discovered reflects an equally important reality: Saudi Arabia has emerged as one of Washington's most important allies in the war on terror, a vital player in the worldwide fight against Islamic extremists.

    Saudi Arabia provided the key intelligence that unraveled the plot - from the intent of the bombers to the tracking numbers on the packages. Were it not for that vital Saudi tip, Americans may have experienced the most devastating terrorist attack on its soil since the 9/11 tragedy.

    John Brennan, a top adviser on homeland security and counter-terrorism to President Obama, said the United States is "grateful" to Saudi Arabia "for their assistance in developing information that helped underscore the imminence of the threat emanating from Yemen." Other American officials have noted bluntly that without the Saudi tip-off, the bombs would likely have found their way aboard cargo flights bound for Chicago - and potentially detonated midair.

    The vital role Saudi Arabia played in saving American lives brings us full circle, one year before the 10th anniversary of the horrific Sept. 11 terrorist attack. On that day, 15 of the 19 hijackers hailed from Saudi Arabia, and the Kingdom's security and intelligence apparatus was not hard-wired to adequately deal with Al-Qaeda or the rising tide of jihadi terrorism that threatened the Kingdom just as much as it did Americans.

    Since then, Saudi Arabia has developed one of the most widely admired jihadist rehabilitation programs in the Muslim world, rolled back Al-Qaeda in its own borders, and developed wide-ranging sources to disrupt Al-Qaeda activity in neighboring Yemen. It has been dangerous work - many Saudi national guardsmen and police officers have lost their lives in this battle.

    Meanwhile, the highly regarded Assistant Interior Minister For Security Affairs Prince Muhammad bin Naif, whose work in fighting Al-Qaeda has been lauded by a slew of Western officials, averted an assassination attempt simply because a suicide bomber's explosives detonated too early.

    But in addition to the hard intelligence work - the hardware of the war on terror - the reform-minded Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah has been quietly transforming the "software" within the Kingdom and in the broader Muslim world that had, for too long, created an environment conducive to radicalism. This "software" transformation will be even more important, in the long run, than the "hardware" intelligence battles.

    The king has reoriented the Saudi education system away from the religious excesses of the past, sponsored global religious dialogue conferences that include Jews and Christians, and spoken out dramatically against the religious "deviancy" that produces terrorists. His five-year rule has been marked by new openings in the media, civil society, and women's rights.

    The king's signature initiatives - from wide-ranging domestic and international dialogue conferences to the creation of new universities for women to the launch of the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology earlier this year - have all revolved around themes of tolerance, dialogue, and education. While it is true that the king's lofty ambitions are often not matched by realities on the ground, his goals and actions have indubitably moved the heavy Saudi ship of state in a new direction.

    The Saudi king's influence does not end within his own borders. As custodian of the Two Holiest Mosques in the Muslim world, in Makkah and Madinah, and as the home of the birthplace of Islam, Saudi Arabia casts a long shadow on Muslim world affairs and holds a unique place in the views of world's Muslims.

    For far too long, Saudi Arabia either shirked its responsibility to build a more moderate Muslim world, or actively supported radical elements outside its borders as part of its geopolitical strategies. That has changed under King Abdullah. After all, a Saudi king who shakes hands with a rabbi in a conference on dialogue and pushes all other Arab states to come to peace terms with Israel and is described as "a remarkable leader" by Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres is certainly a new kind of Saudi king.

    While the news of Saudi Arabia's intelligence cooperation wins plaudits from US policy-makers, we also ought to be aware of the "software" transformation engineered by King Abdullah within his own borders and beyond. Those policies, too, will go a long way toward keeping us safe from the scourge of terrorism.

    --------------------

    Shorab Shobani is an Iranian American know to be associated with Neocon think tank groups
     
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2010
  13. ejazr

    ejazr Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

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    Saudis Warned U.S. of Attack Before Parcel Bomb Plot - NYTimes.com

    WASHINGTON — Saudi intelligence officials warned the United States in early October that Al Qaeda’s affiliate in Yemen was planning a terrorist attack using one or more aircraft, three weeks before a plot to send parcel bombs on cargo planes was foiled at the last minute, American and European officials said Friday.

    The Saudi warning came days after American officials intercepted several packages in mid-September that contained books, papers, CDs and other household items shipped to Chicago from Yemen. The Americans considered the possibility that those parcels might be a test run for a terrorist attack.

    Taken together, the Saudi warning and the suspected dry run provide a more detailed picture than American officials had previously described of mounting indications of a possible attack by the same branch of Al Qaeda that tried to blow up a passenger airliner over Detroit last Dec. 25.

    American officials cautioned that the Saudi tip in early October, though more specific than other previous warnings, made no mention of an impending attack on the air cargo system.

    “Over the past several months, we received intelligence — which was shared across our government — from our foreign partners about threats from AQAP and other terrorist groups,” George Little, a spokesman for the C.I.A., said Friday in an e-mail, referring to Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.

    A tip from Saudi intelligence officials to the Obama administration on Oct. 28 that bombs might be on cargo flights prompted officials in the United States and several other countries to begin a frantic search. Two shipments containing explosives, sent from Yemen and addressed to synagogues in Chicago, were intercepted in Britain and Dubai.

    That tip was the third and most specific alert from the Saudis in a chain of increasingly urgent warnings to intelligence and counterterrorism officials in Britain, Germany and the United States, the officials said.

    The first tip, in July, was a general warning of an attack against the United States or Europe, European intelligence officials said Friday.

    Saudi intelligence provided a much more detailed warning on Oct. 9, saying that Al Qaeda in Yemen had four days earlier completed planning for an attack against the United States or Europe that would use one or two airplanes, possibly simultaneously, the European officials said. The warning indicated that the attacks would unfold within a week or so, officials said.

    But an American official said the intelligence information gave no specific information on how the attack would be carried out.

    “The information we received in early October contained no mention of cargo planes, or the precise details of the plot — to include what planes might be involved, where they might originate, or who the perpetrators might be,” an American official said Friday night. “No one knew, for instance, that AQAP was specifically targeting planes departing Yemen. All of this was taken very seriously, and that’s a key reason why everyone moved quickly when the Saudis contacted American officials last week.”

    The German magazine Der Spiegel told The New York Times it would report the Saudi warnings in its editions next week, and the American officials confirmed them to The Times.

    Also on Friday, Al Qaeda’s branch in Yemen claimed responsibility for sending the parcel bombs from Yemen last week, confirming what counterterrorism officials had assumed about who was behind the foiled attack on cargo planes.

    But officials were skeptical about a second claim in the group’s communiqué: that it was behind the crash on Sept. 3 of a United Parcel Service plane in Dubai in which both pilots were killed. Investigators have not determined the cause of a fire aboard the Boeing 747, before the crash, but based on analysis of the voice recorder, they concluded that no explosion occurred.

    The statement from Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, posted on militant Web forums, addressed President Obama and threatened further attacks. “We say to Obama: We struck three blows to your aircraft within one year,” the statement said. “God willing, we will continue to strike blows against American interests and the interests of America’s allies.”

    The two bombs intercepted on Oct. 29 consisted of ink toner cartridges packed with the chemical explosive PETN and placed inside Hewlett-Packard printers. The packages were sent from the U.P.S. and FedEx offices in Sana, the Yemeni capital, but were intercepted in Dubai and near Nottingham, England, after Saudi intelligence officials provided the tracking numbers for the packages to their American counterparts.

    The packages were addressed to historical enemies of Muslims from the Crusades and the Inquisition, using out-of-date addresses of Jewish institutions in Chicago. But investigators believe the parcels were intended to blow up in flight, possibly over American airspace.

    Der Spiegel reported new details about how the parcel bombs were designed to explode. In the package found at the East Midlands Airport in England, a timer would have sent an electric charge to a light-emitting diode that would have set off an acid igniter in a plastic syringe. It, in turn, would have detonated about 14 ounces of PETN, one of the most powerful explosives known.

    The package in Dubai was actually four packages wrapped together, including clothes, CDs and a printer cartridge, Der Spiegel reported. In that package, a similar chain reaction was intended to detonate almost 11 ounces of PETN. An American official on Friday night confirmed the details of the bomb’s internal workings.

    American officials said from the moment the parcel bombs were discovered that Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula was almost certainly behind the plot. But they suggested that the claim about the Sept. 3 crash was probably a belated attempt by the terrorist group to take advantage of a tragedy in which it played no role.

    “There are very strong indications that AQAP was responsible for plotting last week’s disrupted cargo plane plot, but we can’t confirm at this point their claims about the early September incident,” said one American counterterrorism official, who asked not to be named while discussing delicate intelligence findings.

    The Saudi warnings and the test packages sent in September were not the only hints that the Qaeda branch might be planning attacks. Three videos posted to the Web last year showed Qaeda bomb makers in Yemen concealing explosives in a picture frame, an audio cassette case and a portable radio, according to the SITE Intelligence Group, a private organization in Washington that tracks militant Web sites.
     

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