German minister cancels Mideast visit after Yemen plot

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Germany's interior minister on Sunday postponed a visit to Israel and the Palestinian territories, his embassy said, just days after global intelligence agencies thwarted an air cargo bomb plot.

"Due to current events, German Minister of the Interior Dr Thomas de Maiziere has had to postpone his visit to Israel," the Germany embassy said in a statement.

It did not explicitly refer to the bomb plot, which originated in Yemen and saw one explosive device pass through a German airport.

"Minister de Maiziere regrets that he cannot be in Israel today and will reschedule his visit at the earliest possibility," it said.

An Israeli diplomatic source confirmed Maiziere had cancelled the three-day trip, during which he was to have met with Israeli and Palestinian officials for talks on security and investment opportunities in Germany.

"The minister said he could not come because he is very busy with the Yemen issue," he told AFP, speaking on condition of anonymity.

US officials on Friday announced they had uncovered two bombs on US-bound planes, which were allegedly destined for synagogues in Chicago.

One of the packages, which was discovered at an airport in central England, had transited through an airport in the German city of Cologne. A second device was found on board a cargo plane in Dubai.

The discoveries were made after a tipoff from Saudi intelligence services, sparking a massive international security alert over what is believed to be an Al-Qaeda plot.

© 2010 AFP

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