Britain has 'no indication' that France bomb claim correct

4th November 2010, Comments 0 comments

Britain's transport minister said he had "no indication" a bomb discovered on a plane in the country was disarmed just 17 minutes before it was due to detonate, in comments to a newspaper Thursday.

Philip Hammond refused to confirm an account by French Interior Minister Brice Hortefeux that one of two parcel bombs found Thursday last week in Britain and Dubai and sent from Yemen was on the verge of exploding.

Both devices were on their way to the United States when they were uncovered, sparking a global scare.

Officials in the French minister's office told AFP he had been referring to the British package, which was found at East Midlands airport in central England.

But asked to confirm the claim by Hortefeux that one of the bombs was disarmed minutes before it was due to go off, Hammond told the Times daily: "No, I can't."

He added: "I don't know if he is referring to the East Midlands device or the Dubai device but certainly I have no indication that that was the intended timing of the East Midlands device."

A Department for Transport spokesman confirmed Hammond had made the comments during a press event earlier Thursday and said there would be no further statement on the matter.

The British interior ministry and London's Metropolitan Police said they would not comment on operational matters.

© 2010 AFP

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