WRAPUP 1-Yemen hunts parcel bombers, al Qaeda suspected

* Parcels found in Britain, Dubai set off global alert

* Saudi Arabia tipped off United States

* Yemen forces search for plotters

* Dubai police say bomb bears al Qaeda hallmarks

By Mohamed Sudam and Mahmoud Habboush

SANAA/DUBAI, Oct 30 (BestGrowthStock) – Yemeni forces searched on
Saturday for suspected al Qaeda militants 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 said on Friday 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.

One parcel intercepted in Dubai contained a bomb hidden in a
printer and bore all the hallmarks of al Qaeda, Dubai police
said on Saturday.

The parcel contained explosive pentaerythritol trinitrate
(PETN) in a printer and cartridge, police said. PETN was the
material used in a failed plot to bomb an airline over the U.S.
in December 2009.

“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 organisations such as al Qaeda.”

The bomb also contained lead azide, which is used in
detonators. Dubai police experts defused the device, the
statement said.

SAUDI HELP

The White House said Saudi Arabia helped identify the threat
from Yemen, which has become a haven for some anti-American
militants, while Britain and the United Arab Emirates also
provided information.

Yemeni security forces set up checkpoints across Sanaa on
Saturday, searching vehicles and carrying out identity checks.

Dozens of heavily armed police and military forces were
scattered across the Yemeni capital, including the diplomatic
quarter and the large ring road around the city, stopping cars
and questioning passengers, a Reuters witness said.

Yemen had also stepped up security at its air and seaports,
a security official told Reuters.

Obama said security would be increased for American air
travel for as long as necessary. U.S. officials said they were
searching for more packages that could have come from Yemen.

Obama’s counterterrorism adviser, John Brennan, 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.”

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.

AQAP SUSPECTED

Suspicion fell on al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP),
whose militants operate out of Yemen and claimed responsibility
for a failed plot to blow up a U.S. plane over Detroit on
Christmas Day in 2009.

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.

PETN was the same chemical explosive used in the bomb sewn
into the underwear of a Nigerian man who has been charged with
attempting to blow up an airliner over Detroit last Christmas, a
plot hatched in Yemen.

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
cargo plane at East Midlands Airport, about 160 miles (260 km)
north of London. The other was discovered at a FedEx Corp
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.

(Reporting by Michelle Nichols in New York, Alister Bull
and Jeff Mason in Washington and Mohammed Abbas in London;
Raissa Kasolowsky, Mohamed Sudam, Mahmoud Habboush, Amran Abocar
in Sanaa and Dubai, writing by Peter Millership)

WRAPUP 1-Yemen hunts parcel bombers, al Qaeda suspected