Explosive packages intercepted before making it to the U.S.

Not since 9/11 have we seen a world wide response like this to a possible terrorist threat. A tip lead to a frightening discovery of suspicious packages passing through airports around the world. 

After inspection, two of the packages found were packed with printer toner cartridges with strange wires and explosives inside. One package was intercepted at a small Airport in Central England the other was stopped in Dubai, both originating in Yemen and both addressed to synagogues in Chicago. And tonight there is information that a cell phone could have been rigged to detonate them.

President Obama says he got the call early this morning and confirmed what he called a credible terrorist threat to the U.S., “we will continue to pursue additional protective measures for as long as it takes to ensure the safety and security of our citizens. I have also directed that we spare no effort in investigating the origins of these suspicious packages and their connection to any additional terrorist plotting.”

The discovery of the explosives triggered a world wide scavenger hunt for more packages. The first focus was on UPS Cargo planes landing in Philadelphia and New Jersey. There was cargo on board from Yemen and information that there may be more bombs. Those flights were landed, checked and cleared.

Then Fighter Jets were scrambled to escort an Emirates Air passenger jet (Emirates is the largest airline in the Middle East) into JFK Airport in New York. Again there was cargo on board from Yemen, but there was no apparent threat.

One thing is for sure, officials were using an abundance of caution. White House Terrorist Advisor, John Brennan said in a press conference Friday, “we don't want to presume we know the balance of this plot so we are looking at all types of packages, air travel. “

The key to this threat is Yemen. It is now the headquarters of one of the most active Al Qaeda pockets in the world. It's run by a man who has ties to San Diego. Anwar Al-Awlaki, a cleric who the U.S. says was behind the Christmas Day bomb attempt over Detroit. Awlaki used to be a moderate Muslim cleric here in San Diego but he now runs Al Qaeda on the Arabian Peninsula and it's described as a sophisticated operation.

Brennan went on to say, “Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula has been rather open in its venom towards the United States, towards Western interests. “

The day was filled with rumors about more explosives and other possible targets, but whats still not clear is if this was part of a partial dry run or a potential serious attack. Intelligence officials say if not for a tip from a Saudi Informant, those bombs might have made it to U.S. soil.

So is it over? Did they get all of the explosive packages? Truth is they don't know.
According to the White House they are not assuming anything and they are remaining vigilant.

KUSI's Ross Becker spoke with people at several Synagogues in the San Diego area, none wanted to make any statements about increased security, but memos have gone out at other Jewish centers and places of worship nationwide to increase security.

One thing is clear Al Qaeda keeps looking for new ways to terrorize the U.S.

Categories: KUSI