Washington, Nov.2 (ANI): American intelligence officials who tracked several shipments of compact discs and other household goods from Yemen to Chicago, now believe that the parcels containing explosive material might have been a test run for a terrorist attack.
According to the New York Times, two American officials believe that the shipments, whose hour-by-hour locations could be followed by the sender on the shippers' Web sites, may have been used to plan the route and timing for two printer cartridges packed with explosives sent from Yemen and intercepted in Britain and Dubai on Friday.
Intelligence analysts believe that in September the shipments might have been "a dry run."
"That was one scenario that was considered," said one official, who would discuss the information only on condition of anonymity.
The apparent test run might have permitted the plotters to estimate when cargo planes carrying the doctored toner cartridges would be over Chicago or another city.
That would permit them to set timers on the two devices to set off explosions where they would cause the greatest damage.
After the recovery of the unexploded printer cartridges in Dubai and Britain on Friday, Yemeni and American intelligence officials have stepped up the hunt for Ibrahim Hassan al-Asiri, 28, a Saudi who is believed to be the top technical expert of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.
They believe he designed the underwear explosives that failed to detonate aboard a Detroit-bound airliner last Dec. 25, as well as the body-cavity bomb that killed his younger brother, Abdullah al-Asiri, in a failed attempt last year to assassinate the top Saudi counterterrorism official, Prince Mohammed bin Nayef.
On Monday, information about the latest failed plot continued to emerge.
An American official said that the addresses on the packages were outdated addresses for Jewish institutions in Chicago.
But in place of the names of the institutions, the packages bore the names of historical figures from the Crusades and the Spanish Inquisition, the official said.
The addresses are one reason that investigators now believe the plan may have been to blow up the planes, since they were unlikely to reach the Chicago synagogues. (ANI)