`Bombs concealed inside cargo planes unusually sophisticated`

Two parcel bombs concealed inside airline cargo packages and destined for the US were "expertly constructed" and "unusually sophisticated".

Last Updated: Oct 31, 2010, 13:18 PM IST

Washington: Two parcel bombs concealed
inside airline cargo packages and destined for the United
States were "expertly constructed" and "unusually
sophisticated", leading US dailies reported on Sunday.

"The bombs discovered on Friday were further evidence
that al Qaeda`s affiliate in Yemen was steadily improving its
abilities to strike on US soil", American officials were
quoted as saying by `The New York Times`.

Authorities in Yemen yesterday arrested a woman suspected
of sending mail bombs on two US-bound flights in an alleged
al Qaeda plot that Britain said was aimed at blowing up at
least one of the planes.

The arrest came after two packages containing explosives
and addressed to Jewish synagogues in Chicago were intercepted
on cargo aircraft in Dubai and Britain, unleashing fears of a
renewed al Qaeda terror offensive against the US and European
nations.

US President Barack Obama suspecting the involvement of
al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), the Yemen-based
branch of Osama bin Laden`s extremist network, warned that US
will not spare any effort to investigate the origins of
Chicago-bound packages.

Evidence was mounting that the top leadership of al Qaeda
in the Arabian Peninsula, including the radical American-born
cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, was behind the attempted attacks, `The
Times` quoted US officials as saying.

Investigating officials said that the bomb discovered at
the Dubai airport was concealed in a Hewlett-Packard desktop
printer, with high explosives packed into a printer cartridge
to avoid detection by scanners, the paper said.

"The wiring of the device indicates that this was done by
professionals," the paper quoted an official involved in the
investigation as saying. "It was set up so that if you scan
it, all the printer components would look right."

The Washington Post said investigators were focusing on a
Saudi bomb-maker who last year sent his brother to death in an
effort to kill a Saudi prince.

Ibrahim Hassan al-Asiri, a 28-year-old man who is on
Saudi Arabia`s most-wanted list, introduced a PETN-based bomb
in a body cavity of his younger brother, Abdullah, who
pretended to be turning himself in, The Post said.

The bomb killed his brother and wounded Mohammed bin
Nayef, a top counterterrorism official and Saudi royal.

Yemen based Asiri, is also believed to have built the
underwear bomb of Farouk Abdulmutallab, a Nigerian man who was
trained in Yemen and attempted to blow up a commercial
aircraft approaching Detroit last December, the Post report
said.

That device also contained PETN, or pentaerythritol
trinitrate.

"He is certainly someone we are focused on," the paper
quotes an unnamed US official as saying of Asiri.

PTI