Al-Qaida group claims responsibility for mail bombs
WASHINGTON - A Yemen-based al-Qaida group is claiming responsibility for the international mail bomb plot uncovered late last week and the crash of a United Parcel Service cargo plane in September.
A week after authorities intercepted packages in Dubai and England that were bound for the U.S., Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula issued a message Friday saying it will continue to strike American and Western interests. They specifically said they would target civilian and cargo aircraft. The claim was reported by the private SITE Intelligence Group.
U.S. officials have said all week that there were strong indications that the plot came out of AQAP, a terror group that has been gathering strength and increasingly triggering attacks on Western targets. But officials have said the September crash was caused by an onboard fire.
On Friday, a U.S. counterterrorism official said the group remains a serious threat.
A security official in the UAE familiar with the investigations into the Sept. 3 crash of a UPS cargo plane in Dubai and the mail bombs plot told The Associated Press Friday that there is no change in the findings that the UPS crash in September was likely caused by an onboard fire and not by an explosive device.
"There was no explosion," the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity under standing UAE rules on disclosing security-related information.
"We struck three blows to your aircraft within one year. Allah willing, we will continue to strike blows against American interests and the interest of Americas allies," said AQAP in its statement.
The group said that its "advanced devices allow us the opportunity to detonate it remotely in the air or after it reaches its final destination, and it is design to go through all detectors."
Both mail bombs were wired to detonators that used cell-phone technology.