U.S. searching for al Qaeda bomb maker behind parcel plot
U.S. officials say they are on the hunt for an al Qaeda explosives maker who they believe is the brain behind the Friday’s parcel bomb plot.
Ibrahim Hassan al-Asiri has been identified as the prime suspect in the investigation into two explosive devices found Friday in packages addressed to Chicago synagogues aboard U.S. bound flights from Yemen, CNN reported.
The 28-year-old Saudi suspect allegedly constructed the failed underwear bomb that was found on a suspected al Qaeda operative on board a flight to Detroit last year, according to CNN.
While law enforcement agencies are on a heightened alert because of the possibility of more parcel explosives, New Yorkers said they were not afraid to book a flight.
“You just got to say a prayer and keep moving,” Yvette David, 46, a lifelong Bronx native, said.
Since Friday the NYPD has boosted patrols at city synagogues.
“We’re continuing to provide security where needed,” a police spokesman said yesterday.
Investigators said the dangerous packages that were found in Britain and were meant to be detonated in the air.
An Emirates flight had to be escorted by fighter jets to Kennedy Airport Friday afternoon after it was believed it was carrying a bomb, but it turned out to be a false alarm, according to investigators.
Airports, however, were not taking any chances and have been enforcing stricter rules on air parcel including an embargo on cargo from Yemen, according to officials.
The Yemenese government has also stepped up security and arrested 22-year-old engineering student Hanan Samawi Saturday. She was released yesterday and was not charged by the authorities, according to her attorney.
U.S. Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.), the ranking member on the House Homeland Security Committee, said the clear communication among different agencies was the key factor in finding the bombs.
"The FBI, the TSA especially, they did what they had to do,“ he said on CBS’ “Face the Nation.”