Al-Qaida Claims Responsibility for Bombs Mailed to U.S. Synagogues

Yemen group issues statement saying it will continue to strike American and Western interests.

Send in e-mailSend in e-mail

A Yemen-based Al-Qaida group on Friday claimed responsibility for the international mail bomb plot uncovered late last week, which apparently targeted to Chicago synagogues, as well as the crash of a United Parcel Service cargo plane in September.

A Yemeni policeman takes position outside the state security court in San'a,Yemen, where a U.S.-born radical cleric, Anwar al-Awlaki, is on trial in absentia, November 2, 2010.Credit: AP

A week after authorities intercepted packages in Dubai and Britain that were bound for the U.S., al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula issued a statement taking credit for the plot and saying it would continue to strike American and Western interests. The group specifically said it would target civilian and cargo aircraft.

"We have struck three blows at your airplanes in a single year. And God willing, we will continue to strike our blows against American interests and the interests of America's allies," the group said in a message posted on a militant website.

The authenticity of Friday's claim could not be immediately verified. A U.S. intelligence official said authorities are not surprised to see this claim now.

U.S. officials have said all week that there were strong indications the plot originated with al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, a terror group that has become al-Qaida's most active franchise and has increasingly carried out attacks on Western targets.

Authorities in the U.S. and the U.A.E. have said the Sept. 3 crash of the UPS plane in Dubai shortly after takeoff was caused by an onboard fire, but investigators are taking another look at the incident following the parcel bomb plot.

A security official in the U.A.E. familiar with the investigations into the UPS cargo plane crash in Dubai and the mail bombs plot said Friday that there is no change in earlier findings and that the UPS crash in September was likely caused by an onboard fire and not by an explosive device.

"There was no explosion," the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity under standing U.A.E. rules on disclosing security-related information.

A UPS spokesman, Norman Black, said his company had no independent knowledge of this claim by al-Qaida, and noted that both U.A.E .officials and U.S. National Transportation Safety Board officials have so far ruled out the possibility of a bomb as cause in the crash.
In its statement, al-Qaida's Yemeni offshoot said that it downed the UPS airplane but "because the enemy's media did not attribute the act to us, we kept silent about the operation until we could return the ball once more".

"We have done that, this time with two explosives," one of them sent via UPS, the other via FedEx.

It said that its advanced explosives give it the opportunity to detonate (planes) in the air or after they have reached their final target, and they are designed to bypass all detection devices.

Both mail bombs were hidden inside computer printers and wired to detonators that used cell-phone technology and packed powdered PETN, a potent industrial explosive.

The message also directed a warning to Saudi Arabia, which was instrumental in passing along the key tip that led to the discovery of the bombs: "These explosives were directed at Jewish Zionist temples, and you intervened to protect them with your treason. God's curse on the oppressors."

Al-Qaida's offshoot in Yemen grew strength after several key leaders escaped from a Yemeni jail in 2006. In 2009, it was further bolstered by a merger with Saudi al-Qaida militants to form al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula.

The group first made a stunning show of its international reach in December, when it allegedly plotted a failed Christmas Day attempt to blow up a passenger jet over the U.S. The Obama administration branded the terror group a global threat, and has dramatically stepped up its alliance with Yemen's government to uproot it.

"AQAP continues to probe for weaknesses in our ability to disrupt, detect or stop their operations," said Rep. Mike Rogers, a Republican who serves on the House intelligence terrorism subcommittee.

He expressed little surprise at the claim, saying: "They are agile and determined. So must we be."

Comments

SUBSCRIBERS JOIN THE CONVERSATION FASTER

Automatic approval of subscriber comments.

Subscribe today and save 40%

SUBSCRIBE
Already signed up? LOG IN

ICYMI

Palestinians search through the rubble of a building in which Khaled Mansour, a top Islamic Jihad militant was killed following an Israeli airstrike in Rafah, southern Gaza strip, on Sunday.

Gazans Are Tired of Pointless Wars and Destruction, and Hamas Listens to Them

Trump and Netanyahu at the White House in Washington, in 2020.

Three Years Later, Israelis Find Out What Trump Really Thought of Netanyahu

German soldier.

The Rival Jewish Spies Who Almost Changed the Course of WWII

Rio. Not all Jewish men wear black hats.

What Does a Jew Look Like? The Brits Don't Seem to Know

Galon. “I’m coming to accomplish a specific mission: to increase Meretz’s strength and ensure that the party will not tread water around the electoral threshold. If Meretz will be large enough, it will be the basis for a Jewish-Arab partnership.” Daniel Tchetchik

'I Have No Illusions About Ending the Occupation, but the Government Needs the Left'

Soldiers using warfare devices made by the Israeli defense electronics company Elbit Systems.

Russia-Ukraine War Catapults Israeli Arms Industry to Global Stage