Bomb discovery underscores threat from Yemen, al-Qaeda: US official

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New York, Oct. 30 (ANI): The discovery of two bombs on planes bound for the United States from Yemen has underscored once again the threat from Yemen and Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.

According to the New York Times, John Brennan, President Obama's top counter-terrorism official, has called Yemen "the most active operational franchise of Al Qaeda."

Yemen, once little known to most Americans, has been the source of some of the most dramatic terrorism attempts of recent years.

American intelligence officials have said that Anwar al-Awlaki, an American-born radical cleric now hiding in Yemen, played a direct role in the Christmas Day airliner plot, and he has publicly called for more attacks on the United States.

Representative Peter T. King, Republican of New York and the top Republican on the Homeland Security Committee, said: "We knew what we were looking for, and we knew where to look."

Brennan said the packages contained explosives, which he compared in size to a "breadbox,", and added that they were undergoing forensic analysis. He said the inquiry was at an early stage.

He said the search for additional explosives was continuing.

"We don't want to presume we know the bounds of this plot, so we are looking at all packages," Brennan said.

Yemeni raids and American missile strikes have repeatedly targeted Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula since December, and early this year Awlaki became the first American citizen to be placed on the Central Intelligence Agency's list of suspected terrorists to be captured or killed.

So far no evidence has been made public linking Awlaki to the latest plot.

One of the packages was found aboard a U.P.S. cargo plane at East Midlands Airport near Nottingham, England, officials said. A second, similar package was removed from a FedEx flight in Dubai, they said. (ANI)

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