U.S. tightens security, seeks source of parcel bombs

* Parcels found in Britain, Dubai set off global alert

* Saudi Arabia tipped off U.S. on threat

* US suspects al Qaeda wing in Yemen

* Same explosive used in underwear bomb plot-NYT report

By Jeremy Pelofsky and Phil Stewart

WASHINGTON, Oct 30 (BestGrowthStock) – The United States searched
on Saturday for the culprits behind a plot to bomb Jewish
targets in Chicago uncovered by the interception in Britain and
Dubai of parcels with explosives sent from Yemen.

U.S. President Barack Obama vowed on Friday that U.S.
authorities would spare no effort to find the source of the
packages, which he called a “credible terrorist threat” aimed
at two places of Jewish worship.

Obama said security would be increased for air travel for
as long as necessary. U.S. officials said they were searching
for more packages that could have come from Yemen, which has
become a haven for some anti-American militants.

The security threat unsettled Americans just days before
they vote in midterm congressional elections that have been
dominated by economic woes rather than the issue of terrorism.

Suspicion fell on al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, which
operates out of Yemen and claimed responsibility for a failed
plot to blow up a U.S. plane over Detroit on Christmas Day in
2009. [ID:nLD436393]

The group is affiliated with al Qaeda, whose militants
killed about 3,000 people using hijacked passenger jets in the
Sept. 11 attacks on the United States in 2001.

“Initial examinations of those packages has determined that
they do apparently contain explosive material,” Obama said at a
press briefing at the White House.


The New York Times reported that the packages contained
PETN, the same chemical explosive used in the bomb sewn into
the underwear of the Nigerian man who attempted to blow up an
airliner over Detroit at Christmas, a plot hatched in Yemen.

The newspaper cited Representative Jane Harman, a Democrat
on the House Homeland Security Committee, who was briefed by
the Transportation Security Administration.

The improvised devices contained computer printer
cartridges filled with the explosive, but one used a cell phone
as a detonator and the other had a timer, she told the Times.

U.S. law enforcement officials would not confirm the
report, saying tests were still being done on the explosives.

The White House said “both of these packages originated
from Yemen” and Obama was informed of the threat on Thursday.

One of the packages was found on a United Parcel Service
(UPS.N: ) cargo plane at East Midlands Airport, about 160 miles
(260 km) north of London. The other was discovered at a FedEx
Corp (FDX.N: ) facility in Dubai.

UPS and FedEx, the world’s largest cargo airline, said they
were halting shipments from Yemen. UPS planes were searched and
then cleared in New Jersey and Philadelphia.

One U.S. official and some analysts speculated that the
parcels may have been a test of cargo screening procedures and
the reaction of security officials.

“This may be a trial run,” the U.S. official said.

The White House said Saudi Arabia helped identify the
threat from Yemen, while Britain and the United Arab Emirates
also provided information. [ID:nN29258268]

Obama’s counterterrorism adviser, John Brennan, would not
say how the United States learned of the plot. But he told
reporters: “We were onto this. We were looking for packages
that were of concern.”

Of the plotters, Brennan said: “Clearly they are looking to
identify vulnerabilities in our system. We’ve been able to stay
ahead of them.”

(For more stories click on [nPACKAGES])
(Reporting by Michelle Nichols in New York, Alister Bull and
Jeff Mason in Washington and Mohammed Abbas in London; Writing
by Anthony Boadle; Editing by Stacey Joyce)

U.S. tightens security, seeks source of parcel bombs