INTERNATIONAL. An Al-Qaeda bomb intercepted in Britain last week part way between Yemen and the United States was disarmed just 17 minutes before it was programmed to detonate, French officials said on Thursday.
Interior Minister Brice Hortefeux said that one of two parcel bombs found last Thursday at airports in Dubai and Britain was close to exploding, and officials in his office told AFP he was referring to the British package.
"There were parcel bombs from Yemen heading for the United States, and I can tell you, for example, that one of these parcels was disarmed 17 minutes before the planned explosion," Hortefeux told France 2 television.
Hortefeux made the remark during a more general discussion of the threat of militant attacks on France and was not pressed for more information. He did not say what the source of his information about the imminent blast was.
Packages addressed to synagogues in Chicago and holding the hard-to-detect explosive PETN hidden in ink toner cartridges were uncovered in Dubai and Britain's East Midlands Airport last week, sparking a global security alert.
Washington believes the parcel bombs were the work of Saudi militant Ibrahim Hassan al-Asiri, a suspected Al-Qaeda bombmaker, and British officials have said they were powerful enough to bring down a plane in flight.