A bomb found on a cargo aircraft at East Midlands Airport last week has sparked an international terror alert after US President Barack Obama, confirmed what had earlier been described as a “suspicious package” did contain explosives.
Speaking on live television, he said the package, along with a second one found in Dubai, represented a “credible terror threat” to the US.
The President said the package has been mailed from Yemen to a synagogue in Chicago.
He added: “Our intelligence and law enforcement professionals working with out friends and allies identified two suspicious packages bound for the US – specifically, two places of Jewish worship in Chicago.
“Those packages have been located in Dubai and East Midlands Airport in the UK”
It was later reported by David Cameron that the ink-bomb found on the US-bound cargo plane in Britain was designed to explode in mid-air.
“We believe the device was designed to go off on the aeroplane. There is no early evidence it [the explosion] was designed to take place over British soil, but of course we cannot rule that out,” the Prime Minister said.
He spoke as it was revealed that two women were detained in Yemen in connection with the plot to bring down the cargo jets and a Saudi bombmaker has been named as a key suspect.
Showing the need for more high-tech security checks, one of the two powerful bombs shipped from Yemen nearly slipped past British investigators even after they were tipped off, a U.S. official and a British security consultant revealed.
It also shows how scarily close terrorists came to getting the explosives airborne and bound for the U.S.
Intelligence officials were tipped off to a pair of explosive packages on planes in England as well as the United Arab Emirates early on Friday morning, but after a 6 hour sweep of cargo at East Midlands airport, Leicestershire police came up empty handed, British aviation safety consultant Chris Yates said.
But after officials in Dubai discovered a bomb disguised as a computer printer cartridge, authorities urged the British to look again, a U.S. official said, fortunately, after searching for a second time, the explosives were found.
President Barack Obama’s counterterrorism adviser, John Brennan, called it “a very sophisticated device, in terms of how it was constructed, how it was concealed.
“It was a viable device. It was self-contained, so it could have been detonated and activated,” Brennan said.
Scotland Yard are declining to answer questions about the searches, however, it is thought that the terrorist threat level will remain at its current level of ‘severe’, which indicates an attack is ‘highly likely’.