Australia on alert after bomb packages found on US-bound cargo jets

Townsville (Queensland, Australia), Oct. 30 (ANI): Australian authorities are on alert after American authorities intercepted two bombs meant for Jewish organizations in Chicago.

The Courier Mail quoted acting Prime Minister Wayne Swan as saying that there was no direct threat to Australia, but he added that the transport authorities were on alert.

Mr Swan told reporters here today that Australia's security agencies were working closely with their US counterparts in monitoring the situation.

"There's no information that Australia is a target. The office of transport security has issued a direction to the aviation industry that all in-bound cargo originating from Dubai and Doha must be screened," he said.

He declined to comment on whether there had been direct threats out of Yemen to Australia.

"I cannot provide a final answer to that," he said.

Swan also refused to comment on whether Jewish places of worship in Australia needed to step up their security.

He said the main focus was on the aviation industry.

US President Barack Obama said packages from Yemen were addressed to Jewish synagogues and contained explosive material, and therefore, were a "credible terrorist threat".

The package, discovered aboard a plane in East Midlands, about two hours north of London, contained a toner cartridge with wires and powder.

It was found during routine screening of cargo in the UK, prompting authorities to scour three planes and a truck in the United States on Friday, US officials said.

The White House said it was tipped off by Saudi Arabia to the threat and said Washington was "grateful... for their assistance in developing information that helped underscore the imminence of the threat emanating from Yemen."

Informed late Thursday, Obama immediately ordered cargo planes at Philadelphia and Newark international airports to be towed to isolation and checked because they were thought to contain further packages from Yemen.

US and Canadian fighter jets were scrambled to accompany an Emirates plane into New York but Emirate authorities later said it was not carrying cargo from Yemen.

"We will continue to pursue additional protective measures as long as it takes to ensure the safety and security of our citizens," Obama told a special press conference at the White House.

Yemeni officials said their government had launched a full investigation and was working closely on the incident with international partners, including the United States.

British Home Secretary Theresa May said Saturday: "At this stage I can say that the device did contain explosive material. But it is not yet clear that it was a viable explosive device. The forensic work continues." (ANI)

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