Yemen hunts more suspects behind air parcel bombs

Yemeni security forces were searching for suspects who posted parcel bombs on two US-bound flights.

Last Updated: Oct 31, 2010, 15:24 PM IST

Sanaa: Yemeni security forces were on Sunday
searching for suspects who posted parcel bombs on two US-bound
flights after arresting a woman over an alleged al Qaeda plot
that sparked a global air cargo alert.

The woman was detained on Saturday after being tracked
down through a phone number on a receipt for the
explosives-filled packages, which were found on freighter jets
in Britain and Dubai the day before, Yemeni officials said.

The Yemeni authorities have also launched a wider
search for more suspects believed to be linked to the Yemeni
branch of al Qaeda and the mail bombs, local media reports
said.

A string of countries further boosted their cargo
security measures as British Prime Minister David Cameron said
the bomb found in his country was apparently designed to blow
the aircraft out of the sky.

"Yemeni security forces arrested a woman suspected of
sending two parcel bombs," Yemen`s defence ministry said.

President Ali Abdullah Saleh said security services
"received information that a girl has sent the parcels from
the two cargo companies," apparently referring to UPS and
FedEx, the US firms through which the parcels were sent.
US officials have said the packages were addressed to
synagogues in Chicago.

The woman, who medicine student at Sanaa university
and whose father is a petroleum engineer, was held with her
mother after her mobile phone number was found on the receipt
for the parcel bombs, a Yemeni security official said.

Yemeni officials also said they were examining 26
other seized packages.

US President Barack Obama has made it clear he
suspects the involvement of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula
(AQAP) -- the Yemen-based branch of Osama bin Laden`s
extremist network -- and vowed to wipe out the organisation.

In Britain, Cameron said of the bomb discovered at
East Midlands airport in central England that authorities
"believe that the device was designed to go off on the
airplane", possibly over British soil.

Dubai police said the parcel bomb found there bore the
"hallmarks of al Qaeda". It involved the high explosive PETN
hidden inside a computer printer with a circuit board and
mobile phone SIM card attached.

Britain`s Sunday Telegraph newspaper and The
Washington Post said investigators were focusing on a Saudi
al Qaeda explosives expert based in Yemen, 28-year-old Ibrahim
Hassan al-Asiri.

PTI