Yemen Arrests Woman Accused In Mail Bomb Plot

SAN’A, Yemen (AP) — Yemeni police arrested a woman on suspicion of mailing a pair of bombs powerful enough to take down airplanes, officials said Saturday as details emerged about a terrorist plot aimed at the U.S. that exploited security gaps in the worldwide shipping system.

Investigators were hunting Yemen for more suspects tied to al-Qaida and several U.S. officials identified the terrorist group’s top explosives expert in Yemen as the most likely bombmaker.

The explosives, addressed to Chicago-area synagogues, were pulled off airplanes in England and the United Arab Emirates early Friday morning, touching off a tense search for other devices.

It still wasn’t clear whether the bombs, which officials said were wired to cell phones, timers and power supplies, could have been detonated remotely while the planes were in the air, or when the packages were halfway around the world in the U.S. But the fact that they made it onto airplanes showed that nearly a decade since the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, terrorists continue to probe and find security vulnerabilities.

The packages were addressed to two synagogues in the Chicago area. But British Prime Minister David Cameron said Saturday that he believes the explosive device found at the East Midlands Airport in central England was intended to detonate aboard the plane.

British Home Secretary Theresa May added that the bomb was powerful enough to take down the plane. A U.S. official said authorities believe a second device found in Dubai was similarly potent.

Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh told reporters that the United States and United Arab Emirates had provided intelligence that helped identify the woman suspected of mailing the packages.

A Yemeni security official said the young woman was a medical student and that her mother also was detained.

The police action was part of a widening manhunt for suspects believed to have used forged documents and ID cards, Yemeni officials said. One member of Yemen’s anti-terrorism unit said the other suspects had been tied to al-Qaida.

The officials, like many in the U.S., spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the ongoing investigation unfolding on three continents.

Al-Qaida’s Yemen branch, known as al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, took credit for a failed bombing aboard a Detroit-bound airliner last Christmas. The bomb used in that attack contained PETN, an industrial explosive that was also used in the mail bombs found Friday.

The suspected bombmaker behind the Christmas Day attack, Ibrahim Hassan al-Asiri, is also the prime suspect in the mail bomb plot, several U.S. officials said. Al-Asiri also helped make another PETN device for a failed suicide attempt against a top Saudi counterterrorism official last year. The official survived, but his attacker died in the blast.

“The forensic analysis is under way,” Obama’s counterterror chief John Brennan said Friday. “Clearly from the initial observation, the initial analysis that was done, the materials that were found in the device that was uncovered was intended to do harm.”

Officials said the plot was discovered thanks to intelligence passed from Saudi Arabia. Without that tip, it’s unclear whether anyone would have discovered the bombs before they were airborne — or on U.S. soil.

The U.S. already had been on the lookout for a such a plot, having received indications that the Yemeni-based al-Qaida faction was interested in “exploring an operation involving cargo planes,” a U.S. counterterrorism official said.

U.S. authorities then acted quickly after receiving a tip “that suspicious packages may be en route to the U.S” — specifically Chicago — the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss intelligence matters.

Currently, American officials do not get details about the contents of a U.S.-bound cargo plane until four hours before it’s scheduled to land. In the case of long distance flights, those planes would already be airborne. Once a plane lands, officials screen packages that they feel warrant a closer look.

The failed attack should be a “wake up call” that the U.S. needs to step up security on cargo planes, the top Republican on the Senate Intelligence Committee, Kit Bond, said.

U.S. officials were still cobbling together details about the packages but one official briefed on the investigation said authorities believed the plotters may have been associated with two institutions called “Yemen American Institute (for) Languages-Computer-Management” or the “American Center for Training and Development.”

It was not immediately clear whether those institutions even exist or whether that information came from false documents or fake addresses.

The U.S. temporarily banned all incoming cargo and mail from Yemen. A UPS employee in Yemen said the office has temporarily halted receiving any packages for delivery.

In Chicago, the leader of a North Side synagogue told members of his congregation at weekend services that a smaller congregation that uses their building was one of the targets of the plot.

Rabbi Michael Zedek of Emmanuel Congregation said he was told by a Jewish leader in Chicago that the smaller Or Chadash congregation was one of the targets. The FBI did not confirm that, and both Zedek and Chadash Rabbi Larry Edwards said they had not spoken to law enforcement.

Or Chadash members took the news calmly, Edwards said. The synagogue has about 100 members, and serves Jews in the gay community and their families.

The White House said Brennan called Yemen’s president and made clear that the U.S. is ready to help the Yemeni government in the fight against al-Qaida. The U.S. already assists Yemen with airstrikes and other counterterrorism support.

Yemen’s al-Qaida branch is the most active of the terrorist group’s affiliates and has increasingly become the face of its recruitment efforts in the West. The country is home to radical U.S.-born cleric Anwar al-Awlaki. He has been linked in the Christmas attack and has inspired other terrorists with his violent message.

Also hiding in Yemen is Samir Khan, an American who declared himself a traitor and helps produce al-Qaida propaganda.

The Homeland Security Department said it was stepping up airline security, but White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said Americans did not need to change their travel plans.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


One Comment

  1. Abe Lincoln says:

    I guess unless someone dies you idiots will think it’s all a lie………..

  2. Bill says:

    Add Tsa agents around the world, they protect us. Also Make all cargo shipments that are deleivered, make those people take there shoes off. That will stop this nonsense. vAlso i would consult with Ms. janet Napalatono should brillant and should have all the answer. She is a real protector.

  3. Aman Lodhi says:

    The most surprising stuff in this entire scenario is: How come these so called electronic parcel bomb reached Heathrow n JFK without custom clearance n checking in Sana Yemen

  4. Junior G says:

    Does anyone ever show any kind of interest or respect in truly caring for the oppressed…or is it that everyone loves or likes the oppressor/ when you talk of suicide missions and the people carrying it out, don’t you ever think of what really must have made that person do such an act of killing ones-self in order to kill others. Its very easy to paint the picture the way you want, but if you ever try to understand the colors of the picture, then only you will stop hatred and blame games. For everyone, if you can understand and have a sensible amount of reasoning, What do you call or name the persons that fights for their rights.
    “Children of the land that fight for it are MARTYRS, but for the oppressors, these very people are terrorists or an outlaw.” Think twice before you label anyone.

  5. catherine coppola says:

    whoever wrote this is a good person. I hope others feel as you do.

  6. Junior G says:

    Its very easy to blame a religion, specially when it is surely an open target. But does anyone ever think or reason for the real causes for all thats going on. One question to all…what do you do when some one of your dear ones is killed, tortured, humiliated or abused in any ways for no reason? If you can justify your reactions to this, then just shut up and start researching the true cause of all thats going on. Be a sensible human in understanding the true facts rather than just playing the blame game. Got courage..first stand against the initiators.

  7. peace man says:

    Koran teaches peace, but only those who have hatred in their hearts especially those who twist the koran teachings (like the militants) are making muslim terrible and to be afraid off!!!
    For those Muslims who are fanatics that don’t afraid of devils by killings their brother muslims and christians, I adk your help to please stop following these evil fanatics so that we can achieve peace and harmony on these planet.
    I know that to kill people are devilish acts and Koran don’t teaches. It teahes peace and love to one another which Muahammad wished for.

    1. Ben says:

      Brother, this is what Quran teaches. It is only one example I am quoting.

      “Quote, Fight against (Kill) such of those who have been given the Scriptures (Jews & Christians) as believe not in Allah nor the last day, and forbid not that which Allah has forbidden by his messenger, and follow not the religion of truth, until they pay the tribute (Jahzia) readily, being brought low (BROUGHT TO DEATH)”. Surah IX : 29, M.M. Pickthall, Unquote.
      Can you reproduce a Peaceful Qurqn?

  8. The creator says:

    I had a vision of Ahallah wrapped in his burka, looking sad, but then I had to flush because the stench was overpowering.

  9. justaguy says:

    Dan Te, Timothy McVeigh started life as a Christian – should we shoot all the Christians too? Hey, you aren’t on that list are you?

    1. DanTe says:

      It appears reading is NOT fundamental with you T ARDS. Read the last paragraph of the FACTS list. Oh wait, by definition, you ARE stupid and can’t help it. Sorry justaguy, I guess I should have been more sensitive to your special needs.

  10. Justaguy says:

    Okay, Akmed, Dr. Obama – we’re teaching you to fly. If a bomb doesn’t go off in the plane your flying you did GOOD! if it does….well…we’ll build a memorial – to the plane.

  11. henry says:

    I hear the terrorists saying islam never killed any one. I guess the hindus killed americans during 911 in 2001. all of y ou are terrorits. i cannot have you all as rooom mates. every last one of you all

  12. wasem says:

    mr obama leave the fake things side ,and concern of the crisis economy .

  13. psysword says:

    HEHE COME ON PEOPLE….. BE SCARED AND SPEND your TIME WORRYING… what are the chances of an individual dying in a terror bomb… you are more likely to be smooched by a cow… which one would u take?

  14. Robert L Bellmore NY says:

    No place is safe…we need to all keep our eyes open, and we need to stop helping everyone outside the US,and concentrate on our own needs for the first time.Once we secure our own borders and protect our own people, only then should we expand and help others.We keep going the way we’re going, sooner or later our army will be too small to fight, to ignorant to work our own weapons, and mentally unstable since we don’t take care of our men and women when they return home. Things must change. I voted for change, but Obama fell short of most of his promises, if not all. Good speaker though!

  15. DanTe says:

    Stop using these murderous mu-slimes as an excuse for more curtailment of American Liberties! Just eradicate this disease call Islam already. We eradicated polio and smallpox. Why can we eradicate Islam?

    FACT: Everywhere where there are mu-Slimes, sh-!t happens.

    China — sh-!t happens
    (suicide bombers that kill little children and run amok with metal pipes in the streets)

    India — sh-!t happens
    (mu-slimes burned 100s of hindus alive in packed trains and burned villagers alive while they slept)

    Middle East — sh-!t happens
    (suicide bombers that kill little children)

    Russia — sh-!t happens
    (suicide bombers that kill women and children in crowded theaters)

    South East Asia — sh-!t happens
    (mu-slime thugs who kidnap teachers, school children, nurses, priests for ransom, than murder them all)

    Europe — sh-!t happens
    (suicide bombers that kill little children)

    USA — 9/11 happened

    Goes to reason, no mu-slimes, no sh-!t.
    All these camel turds understand is violence and lies anyway. I say we oblige them by killing them all and than lie about how sorry we are.

    Islam. It’s a disease. And like any other infestations of boils, pox and pestilence, it should be eradicated. You don’t talk to diseases. You eradicate them like you did polio and small pox.

    And some bleeding heart imbecile here will post that it’s just a few “radical” individuals that are murderous, just like any other society. But than conveniently forgetting about the Fact that it happens worldwide and by a LOT MORE than just a few individuals. And they also continues to blank out of their empty heads the worldwide mu-slime jubilee celebrations as people burned on 9/11.

  16. Al-Qaeda must have some serious recruitment problems, if they are now sending around bombs by air mail:

  17. INSIDECIA says:

    big time false flag attacks,you people are morons if you think is true,wake up.

    1. DR KERONEIS says:


  18. Mr.Putnam says:

    We dodged a proverbial “bullet!” Thank God!

    Kudos to members of the law enforcement community around the globe for their vigilance.

    An example must be made of those found guilty–Incaceratrion for life without the possibiliity for parole.

    1. PATRIOT says:

      More media propaganda,false flag terror is getting old,and way to obvious.

  19. tim says:

    Say , uh, jose, when these people read the “kuran” or what toilet paper that is, do you really think they are praying for the well being of americans? this is the country they are in ya know, or havent you noticed? IDIOT!!

    1. NOT BE A SHILL says:

      it sounds like he doesn’t believe in false terror,that what this is,3 days to election,oh ya just a coincidence.

  20. The BIG D says:

    All muslims are on a mission to kill Americans. They are not too be trusted.

    1. jose says:

      UR crazy big D ,if you believe that nonsence.

  21. Grateful says:

    I’d like to thank everyone who helped uncover this plot. This includes security forces in England, Saudi Arabia and Dubai. This includes people who are clearly Muslim and don’t believe in jihad or that Islam grants them the right to kill. I am grateful that the planned attack failed and hope American & European security forces learn something from this. Maybe Nathan will learn something too. Gd Bless America!

    1. DR WILLIS says:


      1. booker says:


  22. nathan says:

    I am sure that this is all just a misunderstanding. No muslims had ever killed anyone. It was only a handful of deranged individuals. Islam is a peaceful religion after all. We can resolve this if we would all just sit down as adults and have a nice chat. Group hug?

  23. tim says:


    1. DR OBAMA says:

      I agree the cia opps,and the fbi are despicable,false flag terror is getting old.

      1. AHKMED says:



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