Britain holds emergency talks on security alert: official

30th October 2010, Comments 0 comments

The British government's emergency committee met Saturday to discuss the security alert sparked by the discovery of a package containing explosives at an English airport, an official said.

"Cobra is underway at the moment," a Home Office spokeswoman told AFP, referring to the committee, which changes in composition depending on the situation but will likely include senior ministers and the security forces.

The meeting is being chaired by Home Secretary Theresa May, who issued a statement overnight saying that a package from Yemen found on a cargo jet at East Midlands airport in central England early Friday contained explosives.

She said investigations were still underway to establish if it was a "viable" bomb.

Prime Minister David Cameron is currently at his official countryside retreat at Chequers outside London, where he will host German Chancellor Angela Merkel and her husband later Saturday, and will not attend the Cobra meeting.

But a spokeswoman for his Downing Street office said he had spoken to the home secretary and was being kept up to date with the situation.

May is expected to issue a statement after the meeting, which media reports suggest will take about an hour.

The British package, and one found in Dubai, were headed for the United States and their discovery sparked an international security alert. US President Barack Obama said they represented a "credible terrorist threat".

© 2010 AFP

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