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Mail bomb could have detonated over U.S.: British police

11-11-2010 08:25 BJT

LONDON, Nov. 10 (Xinhua) -- A failed parcel bomb found on the cargo plane at East Midlands airport last month was timed to detonate over the Eastern seaboard of the United States, British police said on Wednesday.

The bomb, which originated in Yemen, was discovered inside a printer cartridge. London's Metropolitan Police confirmed that "if the device had not been removed from the aircraft the activation could have occurred over the eastern seaboard of the U.S."

The bomb was removed from the freight plane during a two-hour stopover at the British airport.

"We can confirm that the cargo plane arrived at East Midlands Airport from Cologne at 0213 BST on Friday, 29 October 2010," police said in a statement. "The plane left East Midlands Airport at 0420 BST, after the suspect package had been removed."

The device was disrupted at the airport by explosive officers during the initial examination, and experts had calculated what time the device, one of two sent by courier firm from Yemen, was set to explode.

"Forensic examination has indicated that if the device had activated it would have been at 1030 BST on Friday, 29 October 2010," police said.

A second mail bomb, also sent from Yemen, was intercepted in Dubai. Both parcels contained the powerful plastic explosive PETN, which is difficult to detect, and were addressed to synagogues in Chicago.

An intensive investigation had been taking place in Britain and overseas following the discovery of the explosive devices.

British Home Secretary Theresa May later announced that Britain will suspend unaccompanied cargo from Yemen and Somalia into the country and review all aspects of air freight security.

The move was based on possible contact between al-Qaida in Yemen and Somali terrorist groups, May said.

She also announced a ban on toner cartridges over 500g carried in hand luggage on flights departing from Britain.

Direct passenger and cargo flights from Yemen to Britain were suspended following the attempted downing of a plane bound for Detroit on Christmas Day 2009.

Editor:Jin Lin |Source: Xinhua

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