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Officials Warn Of Possible Mail Terror Plots

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Authorities said the suspicious packages had ink cartridges with the explosive material PETN. (credit: CBS 2)

Authorities said the suspicious packages had ink cartridges with the explosive material PETN. (credit: CBS 2)

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NEW YORK (CBS 2) — The United States and other countries around the world are tightening security of air cargo and packages being shipped through the mail, following the recent terror plot out of Yemen, CBS 2HD’s Kathryn Brown reports.

Transportation Security Administration officials were on their way to Yemen to begin examining screening practices.
And they were warning consumers to be on the lookout for mail with unusual characteristics, like excessive postage or no return address.

Those markings, they believe, could be signs of dangerous and possibly explosive material inside.

“We’re working with our international partners to shore up the defenses that we have in terms of trying to identify where other suspect packages may be,” said John Pistole, TSA Administrator.

The warning comes in the wake of Friday’s failed bomb plot. Counterterrorism investigators intercepted two mail bombs and said both packages originated in Yemen and were addressed to two synagogues in Chicago.

One was transported on a cargo plane to England but the other apparently traveled on two separate passenger planes before eventually ending up in Dubai.

Security teams there were tracing the serial numbers of the mobile phone circuit board and the computer printer that were rigged with explosives.

“We’re looking at the potential that they would have been detonated en route to those synagogues aboard the aircraft as well as at the destinations,” said John Brennan, Deputy National Security Advisor.

Top Homeland Security members in the U.S. called the breaking up of the recent terror plot a picture-perfect example of international cooperation. Saudi terrorist Jabir al-Fayfi, who was very involved in Al Qaida, tipped off security officers there.

Investigators believe al-Qaida’s Arabian Peninsula branch is responsible for the attack. Ibrahim Hassan al-Asiri, 28, was at the center of the investigation. He was suspected of designing the deadly cargo bombs.

He was also thought to be behind the Christmas Day underwear bombing plot in Detroit.

“It shows that al Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula is, I think, emerging as the major force now in the Islamic terrorist world. In some ways supplanting bin Laden,” said Congressman Peter King.

UPS and FedEx have already halted all cargo shipments from Yemen and both the U.S. and Great Britain have banned all air freight from the country.

Germany has extended its ban to include all passenger flights as well.

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