Bomb Plot Said to Contain ‘Hallmarks of Al Qaeda’

The New York Times reports that a day after two packages containing explosives, shipped from Yemen and addressed to synagogues in Chicago, were intercepted in Britain and Dubai, setting off off a broad terrorism scare, Janet Napolitano, secretary of the Homeland Security, said that the plot “has the hallmarks of Al Qaeda.”
Ms. Napolitano and the police in Dubai on Saturday confirmed that the bomb discovered in its country in cargo from Yemen bound for the United States contained the explosive PETN, the same chemical explosive in the bomb sewn into the underwear of the Nigerian man who tried to blow up an airliner over Detroit last Dec. 25.

The white powder explosives discovered in Dubai were in the printer’s ink cartridge and were rigged to an electric circuit.

“The parcel was prepared in a professional way where a closed electrical circuit was connected to a mobile phone SIM card hidden inside the printer,” the Dubai police said, according to Reuters.

The episode is likely to reignite a long-running debate over the screening of freight aboard cargo planes. Only a small percentage of such freight is currently screened, though in 2007 Congress directed the Transportation Security Administration to screen all cargo carried on passenger flights starting this year.

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