Last week, suspicious explosives-filled, Chicago-bound packages were intercepted in the U.K. and Dubai—apparently minutes before detonation—and set off concerns about similar cargo shipments from Yemen. Now, the NY Times reports, "Saudi intelligence officials warned the United States in early October that Al Qaeda’s affiliate in Yemen was planning a terrorist attack using one or more aircraft, three weeks before a plot to send parcel bombs on cargo planes was foiled at the last minute, American and European officials said Friday."

Additionally, the warning came just "days after American officials intercepted several packages in mid-September that contained books, papers, CDs and other household items shipped to Chicago from Yemen. The Americans considered the possibility that those parcels might be a test run for a terrorist attack." American officials previously said the mail bombs—which included electronics with PETN in them—had the "hallmarks of Al Qaeda" and resembled the Christmas Day underwear bomb attempt.

Saudi Arabia has apparently been sending tips about possible terrorist schemes since July; an American official said, "The information we received in early October contained no mention of cargo planes, or the precise details of the plot — to include what planes might be involved, where they might originate, or who the perpetrators might be. No one knew, for instance, that AQAP was specifically targeting planes departing Yemen. All of this was taken very seriously, and that’s a key reason why everyone moved quickly when the Saudis contacted American officials last week."

AQAP (Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula) issued a statement taking responsibility for the mail bombs, "We say to Obama: We struck three blows to your aircraft within one year. God willing, we will continue to strike blows against American interests and the interests of America’s allies."