Yemen doubts its links to explosive packages

Yemen doubts its links to explosive packages

Authorities in Britain and Dubai seized two explosive packages addressed to Chicago area synagogues on cargo jets. They said the packages originated from Yemen carried by Fedex and UPS parcel services.

In a statement distributed to journalists and appearing on the official website, the government said there were no UPS cargo planes that had taken off from Yemen or any indirect or direct flights to British or American airports.

The statement warned against "rush decisions in a case as sensitive as this one and before investigations reveal the truth." The government also promised an investigation into allegations that the packages had originated in Yemen.

The discovery of the packages has once more put the spotlight on the violence-wracked, poverty-stricken country on the Arabian Peninsula. If the explosive devices shipped in cargo planes from Yemen are conclusively linked by investigators to the al-Qaida faction in Yemen, it could represent a new tactic by al-Qaida in the Arab Peninsula.

The group previously has spawned plots against commercial US-bound flights and had a role in mass shootings in several American cities. In the past 18 months, the al-Qaida offshoot in Yemen has grown stronger, and its members have been implicated in several plots against US targets, including the futile attack last Dec 25 on an airliner landing in Detroit, Michigan.

Next to Osama bin Laden and his al-Qaida leaders in Pakistan, al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula is considered the most active al-Qaida threat to the United States and its Western allies, according to the Obama administration.