British PM says bomb was designed to explode on plane

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A bomb found in a parcel on board a US-bound cargo plane in Britain was designed to go off on the aircraft, British Prime Minister David Cameron said Saturday.

"We believe that the device was designed to go off on the airplane," Cameron told BBC television from Chequers, his country residence near London.

"We cannot be sure about the timing, about when that was meant to take place. There is no early evidence it was designed to take place over British soil but of course we cannot rule that out."

Earlier, Home Secretary Theresa May said the explosives in the parcel found Friday at East Midlands airport had been "viable and could have exploded" and could have brought a plane down -- but did not confirm that was the aim.

The discovery of the parcel, and another in Dubai which also proved to be a viable bomb, sparked an international security alert.

US President Barack Obama said the two devices represented a "credible terrorist threat".

Cameron paid tribute to the cooperation between British and US security services in dealing with the bombs, saying he had spoken to Obama "and emphasised how we'll go on working closely together."

He has also spoken to President Ali Abdullah Saleh of Yemen, the parcels' country of origin, "making the point that we have to do even more to crack down and cut out the cancer of Al Qaeda in Yemen and the Arabian peninsula.

"A package that started in Yemen, that landed in Germany, that landed in Britain en route to America, it just shows how united and determined we have to be to defeat terrorism," Cameron said.

He added: "In the end these terrorists think that our connectedness, our openness as modern countries, is what makes us weak.

"They're wrong, it's a source of our strength. And we will use that strength, that determination, that power and that solidarity to defeat them."

© 2010 AFP

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