US Senate panel to probe cargo security gaps

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A key US Senate panel announced Tuesday it will hear from top officials next week on closing gaps in air cargo security after a foiled parcel-bomb plot targeting the United States from Yemen.

The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee will hold a November 16 hearing to examine steps taken in response to the plot, which was uncovered last month.

The panel said it would hear from US Transportation Security Administration (TSA) chief John Pistole and US Customs and Border Patrol Commissioner Alan Bersin.

Two packages addressed to Chicago synagogues containing the hard-to-detect explosive PETN hidden in printer ink cartridges were uncovered in Dubai and Britain's East Midlands Airport on October 28, sparking a global scare.

Al-Qaeda's wing in Yemen last week claimed responsibility for the parcel bomb threat, and also said it downed an airliner from the cargo carrier UPS in Dubai in September.

© 2010 AFP

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