Interpol issues alert over Yemen parcel bombs

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The global police agency Interpol issued an alert Saturday to help forces in its member states spot disguised bombs of the kind Al-Qaeda sent last week from Yemen using airmail parcel couriers.

The so-called "Orange Notice", which will also be made public, contains photographs and technical details of the latest bombs, which were discovered and made safe at airports in Dubai and Britain after an intelligence warning.

Al-Qaeda's Yemen-based branch, Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), has claimed responsibility for sending the sophisticated devices, in which the explosive PETN was packed into printer cartridges and attached to timers.

"The information contained in this Orsiange Notice will allow police services and other law enforcement agencies to take all appropriate measures to identify potentially lethal devices," Interpol Secretary General Ronald Noble said.

"Given that these devices were hidden inside what appeared to be normal packages, an unrestricted version of the Orange Notice has also been published by Interpol," he added, in a statement released by his headquarters in France.

"We have seen on many occasions that vigilance by members of the public can be crucial in alerting law enforcement to potential threats, as evidenced by the arrest of the Times Square bomb suspect in May this year in New York."

US intelligence believes the parcel bombs, which were addressed to Chicago synagogues but may have been intended to explode in flight, were the work of Saudi militant Ibrahim Hassan al-Asiri, thought to be a senior AQAP member.

© 2010 AFP

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