US experts say plane bombs unusually sophisticated: report
Bombs concealed inside airline cargo packages and sent to the United States were expertly constructed and unusually sophisticated, The New York Times reported late Saturday.
Citing unnamed US officials, the newspaper said the bombs discovered Friday were further evidence that Al-Qaeda's affiliate in Yemen was steadily improving its abilities to strike on US soil.
Yemeni authorities arrested Saturday a woman suspected of sending mail bombs on two US-bound flights in an alleged Al-Qaeda plot that Britain said was aimed at blowing up at least one of the planes.
The arrest came a day after two packages containing explosives and addressed to Jewish places of worship in Chicago were intercepted on cargo aircraft in Dubai and Britain, triggering a massive international security alert.
US President Barack Obama suspects the involvement of Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), the Yemen-based branch of Osama bin Laden's extremist network.
US officials said evidence was mounting that the top leadership of Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, including the radical American-born cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, was behind the attempted attacks, The Times said.
Investigators said that the bomb discovered at the Dubai airport was concealed in a Hewlett-Packard desktop printer, with high explosives packed into a printer cartridge to avoid detection by scanners, The Times noted.
"The wiring of the device indicates that this was done by professionals," the paper quoted an official involved in the investigation as saying. "It was set up so that if you scan it, all the printer components would look right."
The bomb discovered in Britain was also hidden in a printer cartridge, the report said.
© 2010 AFP