Obama: Packages on Cargo Flights Contained ‘Explosive Material’

BY Larisa Epatko  October 29, 2010 at 3:03 PM EST

Updated 4:30 p.m. ET

The suspicious packages found on two cargo flights in Britain and Dubai “do apparently contain explosive material,” President Obama told the nation Friday afternoon.

He said in a televised address that a credible terrorist threat led to an inspection of the packages, which originated from Yemen and were addressed to places of Jewish worship in Chicago.

The Yemeni government is cooperating with the U.S. in investigating the source of the packages, and helping with efforts to dismantle Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, Mr. Obama said. The al-Qaida affiliate continues to plan attacks against the United States, its citizens and allies, he added.

Original story:


A UPS airplane is isolated and inspected at Philadelphia International Airport. Photo by William Thomas Cain/Getty Images

Two suspicious packages originating from Yemen were found overnight in Britain and Dubai on airplanes bound for the United States, officials said Friday, causing airports in the U.S. to heighten security procedures.

An ink toner cartridge that appeared to have been tampered with in a way that resembled a bomb was intercepted at East Midlands Airport in Donington, Leicestershire, about 100 miles north of London, according to the BBC.

The cartridge with wires attached and a powdery substance was uncovered during a routine security check, prompting authorities to isolate and screen other cargo airplanes at Philadelphia International and Newark Liberty airports, which also contained packages from Yemen. None of the packages examined posed any danger, The New York Times reported.

The Associated Press quoted an unnamed UAE security source as saying a suspicious device on a flight in Dubai contained explosive material and that an investigation was underway.

A U.S. official speaking on condition of anonymity said U.S. intelligence sources indicated a potential threat from shipments coming from certain parts of the world, according to Bloomberg News.

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said President Obama was alerted to the “potential terrorist threat” Thursday night.

The potentially suspicious packages were discovered “based on close cooperation among U.S. government agencies and with our foreign allies and partners,” Gibbs said.

The Department of Homeland Security also issued a statement saying it was ramping up security measures at airports, including heightened cargo and passenger screenings, based on the discoveries.