Yesterday, suspicious Chicago-bound packages intercepted in the UK and Dubai triggered a concerns over UPS packages on flights at Newark and Philadelphia International Airports, as well as on a UPS truck in Brooklyn, and even prompted a military fighter jet escort for a commercial Emirates flights landing at JFK Airport. It turns out that the packages, mailed from Yemen and headed to Chicago synagogues (including one across the street from President Obama's home in the Windy City), tested positive for explosives. Obama called it a "credible terrorism threat," as other officials said it may very well have been a test run for a bomb plot.
Today, the NY Times reports that Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano as well as police in Dubai "confirmed that the bomb discovered in [Dubai] in cargo from Yemen bound for the United States contained the explosive PETN, the same chemical explosive in the bomb sewn into the underwear of the Nigerian man who tried to blow up an airliner over Detroit last Dec. 25. That plot, too, was hatched in Yemen, a country that is regarded as one of the most significant fronts in the battle with extremists." This morning, a Yemen official said that as many as 26 packages were sought for investigation. Yemen is also where wanted Al Qaeda cleric Anwar Al-Awlaki is in hiding.
Napolitano also said the plot "has the hallmarks of Al Qaeda... The investigation is ongoing and just as we have an adversary who keeps pushing the system, trying to conduct a plot, we are ourselves continuing to make sure we get to the source of this and make sure that we take care of this problem." Saudi Arabia was credited for tipping off the U.S. to the threat.
The packages in the UPS truck at MetroTech in downtown Brooklyn were, the Daily News reports, "later found to be envelopes from Yemen." The items "temporarily shut down the Manhattan Bridge and part of Flatbush Ave," but they "were cleared after an NYPD X-ray of the envelopes revealed they simply contained bank receipts and other papers."