by Florian Flade
Investigators in the U.S., Britain and Dubai believe, the bombs hidden in a laser printer and a cartridge, sent from Yemen to a Chicago Jewish center, were meant to detonate on board of the cargo airplanes.
The amount of PETN explosives used in the parcel bombs would probably have destroyed the airplanes. According to a British explosives expert, those who built the devices used as much as thirty times the amount of PETN used by Nigerian airliner bomber Umar Farouq Abdulmutallab on Christmas Day 2009.
On September 3th, a UPS cargo plane took off in Dubai, heading for Cologne, Germany. Shortly after the take-off, the airplane crashed to the ground, setting of a fireball. Two people, crew-members, were killed in that incident. What if this event was the result of al-Qaeda´s test-run, using bombs hidden in mail?
Residents of the area were later quotes by the media telling about an explosion they saw before the plane crashed.
„I saw the explosion from my balcony and felt the blast,“ said Tony Meechan, a British expatriate living in Silicon Oasis, a technology park on the Emirates Road.
„There was a big fireball that lit up the full sky in orange. After that there was smoke and the smell of burning plastic.“
Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula carried out a kind of test-run for their explosive-device creation in the past. Abdullah al-Asiri´s suicide attack against Saudi Prince Muhammad Bin Naif was in some way similar to the later attempted Detroit airline bombing, carried out by Nigerian Abdulmutallab. In both cases, AQAP´s explosive choice was PETN. Al-Asiri had penetrated security at airports and at the Prince´s mansion without the bomb getting detected.
Wouldn´t it be plausible for AQAP to test bombs sent via UPS or FedEx mail before starting a complex attack on U.S. or British targets, involving several airplanes?