Germany Tipped Off Britain About Mail Bomb, Minister Says

Send in e-mailSend in e-mail

Britain was alerted to a parcel bomb in an airfreight center by Germany, which itself obtained the tip-off from a "friendly intelligence service," German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere said Sunday.

The air-courier parcel was intercepted at East Midlands Airport, north of London. Another was then found in a freight center in Dubai.

A British forensics officer removes a package from a UPS container at East Midlands Airport on Friday. Inset, the printer seized in Dubai.Credit: Reuters

Speaking in Dresden, de Maiziere said German authorities were tipped off between late Thursday and early Friday that explosives were inside a U.S.-bound parcel. German federal police then discovered the consignment number of the parcel and told Britain.

He did not say who sent the clue, but the newspaper Bild am Sonntag said it came from Saudi Arabia.

"This rapid investigation enabled Britain to check, find and seize the parcel," de Maiziere said.

De Maiziere canceled his departure Sunday on a trip to Israel and the West Bank .

He had been due to attend a Tel Aviv conference on homeland security, woo Israeli investors and attend ground-breaking for four new, German-financed police stations at Ramallah on the West Bank.

An aide said, "They have agreed to reschedule the trip to a date
as soon as possible."

Investigators say the parcel found at East Midlands had been trans-shipped at the joint airport of Cologne and Bonn in Germany.

Germany has banned arrivals of all air cargo from Yemen, where the parcel was posted, Transport Minister Peter Ramsauer said Sunday.

Airlines, freight forwarders and courier companies have been ordered by federal aviation authorities told to closely examine every Yemen-origin consignment which arrives despite the ban or which is being held in storage.

Deutsche Post, the German mail carrier and parent of the worldwide DHL courier service, said it was already running special checks on all incoming parcels from Yemen.