Obama calls for enhanced cargo screening

WASHINGTON (AP) - President Barack Obama says the U.S. is taking steps to enhance the safety of air travel, including beefing up cargo screening.

Authorities are taking the steps after two packages of explosives were intercepted overseas, headed from Yemen for Jewish places of worship in Chicago.

Obama told reporters Friday that he was alerted to the threat Thursday night and that he directed the Homeland Security Department and other law enforcement and intelligence agencies to take whatever steps were necessary to protect American citizens.

 He said additional protective measures will be taken for as long as necessary to ensure safety and security in this country.

Officials suspect a link with al-Qaida.


Obama: 'Credible' terrorist threat being probed

WASHINGTON (AP) - President Barack Obama says the terror probe into suspicious packages believed to be linked to a plot by Yemen's al-Qaida branch is a "credible terrorist threat."

The President spoke at the White House. He was first briefed about the terror probe Thursday night.

Authorities are investigating a package containing explosive materials intercepted in Dubai on its way from Yemen and another package in England. U.S. officials say they are increasingly confident that the packages were part of a plot by Yemen's al-Qaida branch.


US fighter jets escort plane with cargo from Yemen

Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) - A commercial passenger jet carrying cargo from Yemen was escorted from the Canadian border to New York City by two military fighter jets, U.S. officials said. The plane landed shortly after 3:30 p.m. EDT.

The officials said there is no known threat associated with the plane, but it being escorted to John F. Kennedy International Airport as a precautionary move. Authorities on Friday were investigating whether suspicious packages shipped aboard cargo planes from Yemen to the U.S. were part of a terrorist plot.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)


UAE source: explosive found in Yemen shipment

Associated Press

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) - An official UAE security source says a suspicious device discovered in an air cargo shipment in Dubai that was headed for the U.S. contained explosive materials.

The person, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue, said the "explosive device" was found Friday in a courier company's regional hub and originated in a shipment from Yemen.

The source says there has been "close cooperation between several intelligence and security agencies around the world following the discovery of shipments ... containing an explosive device originating in Yemen."

The person says an investigation is under way.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)


Investigation into suspicious packages on three continents


WASHINGTON (AP) - Authorities on three continents are looking into the shipment of suspicious packages from Yemen to the United States on cargo planes.

They're trying to find out if it could be part of a dry run for a package-bomb plot.

No explosives have been found. The White House says President Barack Obama was alerted to a "potential terrorist threat."

The discovery prompted authorities to search three planes and a truck today in New York, New Jersey and Philadelphia. They carried packages shipped by UPS.

Yemen is home to the al-Qaida branch that tried to bomb a U.S.-bound airliner on Christmas last year.

The packages were discovered in the United Kingdom and Dubai late last night. An FBI official says they were addressed to religious sites in Chicago.

One package, found in the UK, held a toner cartridge with wires and powder.

Officials for FedEx say the company confiscated a suspicious package in Dubai that was shipped from Yemen. The company says it has embargoed all shipments from Yemen indefinitely.



Suspicious package found on cargo flight; Other flights investigated

PHILADELPHIA (NBC) - A toner cartridge that had been suspiciously modified was discovered aboard a UPS cargo flight from Yemen, CNN reported Friday, triggering searches of other cargo flights that had landed in the United States.

Test results for explosives were negative, one law enforcement official told the Associated Press, but officials remained concerned. The flight had been bound for Chicago but was at a British airport when the cartridge was spotted.

The Transportation Security Administration earlier said that cargo flights that landed safely at Newark and Philadelphia airports were being searched after "reports of potentially suspicious items onboard."

"Out of an abundance of caution the planes were moved to a remote location where they are being met by law enforcement officials and swept," TSA added.

The flight that landed at Newark, N.J., reportedly came from Yemen.

At Philadelphia, video from the airport showed emergency vehicles around a UPS jet that had arrived from Paris.

"A possible explosive device" was being sought, airport spokeswoman Victoria Lupica was quoted by the Philadelphia Inquirer as saying. But Fire Department spokesman Carl Grimes mentioned "a possible radiological incident."

UPS stated that "we are cooperating fully with authorities in Philadelphia. The aircraft has been isolated; the shipment in question is being removed. The aircraft involved is a two-crew member plane. The crew has been safely evacuated."

A second UPS cargo flight that was to depart from Philadelphia was also being searched, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

In New York, a police spokesman said a UPS delivery truck was also being investigated in the city's borough of Queens, but no further details were immediately available.

This report will be updated as information becomes available.