WRAPUP 4-UK says Yemen bomb could have brought down plane

(For more stories on the bombs please click on [nPACKAGES])

* UK minister says device could have exploded

* Parcels found in Britain, Dubai set off global alert

* Saudi Arabia tipped off United States

* Dubai police say bomb bears al Qaeda hallmarks
(Adds more May quotes, background)

By Stefano Ambrogi and Mohamed Sudam

LONDON/SANAA Oct 30 (BestGrowthStock) – A bomb found on a
U.S.-bound cargo plane was powerful enough to bring down an
aircraft, British authorities said on Saturday, as forces in
Yemen searched for suspected al Qaeda militants behind a plot
involving Jewish targets in Chicago.

“I can confirm the device was viable and could have
exploded. The target may have been an aircraft and had it
detonated the aircraft could have been brought down,” British
Home Secretary Theresa May said. [ID:nLDE69T08F]

Two parcels containing explosives — addressed to
synagogues in Chicago and sent from Yemen — were intercepted
in Dubai and Britain on Friday, following an intelligence
tipoff that triggered a massive international response.

Officials said the parcel bombs had the hallmarks of al
Qaeda, and in particular al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, and
at least one of them included the same explosives used in a
failed attempt to blow up a U.S. jetliner on Christmas Day last
year.

In Washington, U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Janet
Napolitano said authorities were checking whether other
packages had been sent before the two that were intercepted.
[ID:nN30278871]

“We’re doing some reverse engineering as it were to
identify other packages from Yemen,” she said on NBC News.

President Barack Obama addressing the nation on Friday,
said U.S. authorities would spare no effort to find the source
of the packages which he called a “credible terrorist threat”
aimed at two synagogues in his home town of Chicago.

Obama called Saudi King Abdullah and British Prime
Minister David Cameron on Saturday to discuss the parcel bomb
plot, the White House said.

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

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, halted
shipments from Yemen and on Saturday Yemen shut down both
companies’ operations there, citing security concerns.

HIDDEN IN A PRINTER

Dubai police, who defused the device, said the explosive
was hidden in a printer cartridge and expertly linked a closed
electrical circuit to “a mobile phone SIM card hidden inside.”

Britain said it will immediately halt all air freight from
Yemen into or through Britain. Direct cargo and passenger
flights from Yemen to Britain were suspended in January after a
failed plot last year to blow up a U.S. jet bound for Detroit
with explosives a Nigerian man hid in his underwear.

The latest plot originating in Yemen further heightened
security concerns about the unstable Arab country, seen by the
West as the home of al Qaeda’s most inventive and audacious
affiliate.

Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, or AQAP, and one of its
leading figures, U.S.-born Muslim cleric Anwar al-Awlak, have
been priority U.S. targets since it took responsibility for the
Christmas Day 2009 attempted bombing.

Dubai police said they found pentaerythritol trinitrate, or
PETN, in the printer cartridge, the same chemical explosive
used in that failed plot.

There was no immediate claim or responsibility for the
parcels, but U.S. officials suspect AQAP, which is affiliated
with al Qaeda, whose militants killed 3,000 people using
hijacked airliners in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United
States.

In Yemen, dozens of heavily armed police and military
forces were scattered across the Yemeni capital of Sanaa,
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, although a Reuters witness on
Saturday reported no visible extra security measures.

Obama on Friday said security would be increased for
American air travel for as long as necessary.

The U.S. president went ahead with a weekend campaign trip
in four states to rally struggling his fellow struggling
Democrats before Tuesday’s U.S. congressional elections.

The package scare caused broad disruptions on Friday, with
the U.S. scrambling fighter jets to accompany a passenger jet
and mobilizing explosive experts to search cargo planes. UPS
planes were searched and then cleared in New Jersey and
Philadelphia.
(Reporting by Adrian Croft and Mohammed Abbas in London,
Jeremy Pelofsky and Matt Spetalnick in Washington, Maissa
Kasolowsky, Mohamed Sudam, Mahmoud Habboush, Amran Abocar and
Praveen Menon in Sanaa and Dubai; Writing by Peter Millershp
and Vicki Allen; Editing by Doina Chiacu)

WRAPUP 4-UK says Yemen bomb could have brought down plane