Two bomb parcels had 300, 400 grams of explosives: Germany

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The two US-bound bomb parcels from Yemen contained 300 grammes (11 ounces) and 400 grammes of explosives respectively and could have caused "significant damage", a German official said Monday.

The government official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, confirmed that the two bombs contained the explosive PETN.

If they had gone off, "they would have caused significant damage," he said, without specifying the source of the information.

Qatar Airways said a package containing explosives was flown from the Yemeni capital Sanaa to Doha and then on to Dubai Friday on one of its aircraft. A source said on condition of anonymity that the plane was a passenger flight.

The other parcel was found at East Midlands airport in central England and travelled through Cologne in western Germany. British Prime Minister David Cameron said it appeared designed to blow up a plane.

US officials have said the two packages originating from Yemen were addressed to synagogues in Chicago.

They have cited Ibrahim Hassan al-Asiri, an alleged Al-Qaeda bombmaker born in Saudi Arabia but based in Yemen, as a "leading suspect" in the case.

Evidence suggests the same person built the intercepted parcel bombs and the device worn by the "underwear" bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab who botched an attack on a passenger flight to Detroit on Christmas Day 2009.

That bomb reportedly contained 80 grammes of PETN.

Germany earlier announced it had stepped up its air security measures, extending a ban on air freight from Yemen to passenger flights.

© 2010 AFP

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