US parcel bomb plot as it unfolded

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Security measures were boosted around the world on Sunday after the discovery of bombs hidden in two packages on US-bound cargo planes during stopovers in Britain and Dubai.

Here is a chronology of developments in the foiled bomb plot:

FRIDAY, October 29

-- British officials, acting on a Saudi intelligence tip-off to the United States, find a suspected bomb disguised as a toner cartridge on a US-bound cargo plane at East Midlands airport in central England.

-- The White House says US President Barack Obama was told of a "potential terrorist threat" surrounding suspicious packages on two cargo planes in transit to the United States, including one in Dubai as well as England.

-- US package delivery firm FedEx and its counterpart UPS suspend deliveries from Yemen.

-- Obama says the two suspicious packages contained explosive material, were addressed to synagogues in Chicago, and that they were a "credible terrorist threat."

-- A senior Yemeni official says his government is ready to launch an investigation into the suspicious packages.

SATURDAY, October 30

-- Police in Dubai say the parcel intercepted in the Gulf state "bears the hallmarks of those used by terrorist organisations like Al-Qaeda," a suspicion later repeated by US Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano.

-- Yemeni authorities say they seized and are examining 26 suspicious parcels.

-- France suspends air freight from Yemen.

-- Obama thanks British Prime Minister David Cameron and Saudi King Abdullah for helping to disrupt the terror plot, and reiterates a call to Yemen for closer counterterrorism cooperation.

-- Yemen security forces arrest a woman suspected of sending two allegedly Al-Qaeda linked parcel bombs after surrounding her house in Sanaa.

-- Britain's Cameron says the parcel bomb found on a US-bound cargo jet that stopped over in Britain was designed to blow up the plane.

-- Germany blocks air freight from Yemen.

SUNDAY, October 31

-- Qatar Airways source said one of the intercepted bombs traveled on a passenger plane.

-- US counter-terrorism chief John Brennan says there was no intelligence indicating there were any additional parcel bombs from Yemen, although he refused to rule out the possibility.

-- Brennan says evidence suggests the same person constructed the Yemen parcel bombs and the device worn by the "underwear" bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab who botched an attack over Detroit on Christmas Day 2009.

-- Hundreds of students rally at Sanaa University calling for the release of the woman tracked down through a mobile number written on the explosives-filled packages.

-- Yemeni security forces hunt for suspects who posted packages of explosives on US-bound flights.

© 2010 AFP

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