India: 'Screen all Yemeni & Somali parcels'

Published: November 4, 2010

Not taking any chances after the discovery of two parcel bombs on US-bound cargo flights in Dubai and central England, the government of India has advised its Customs and postal departments to security-screen all parcels coming in from Yemen and Somalia. The advisory seeking additional checks on cargo emanating from Yemen and Somalia comes days ahead of US President Barack Obama’s visit to Delhi and Mumbai.
The advisory, based on a request from the American agencies as well as its own threat assessment coinciding with the Obama visit, took effect from Tuesday night. It’s not time-bound and all parcels from Yemen and Somalia — including airmail and cargo landing at the country’s seaports and airports — will continue to undergo rigorous checks until further orders.
Incidentally, India is only one of the several countries that have tightened checks on Yemeni cargo and airliners following the interception of parcel bombs addressed to synagogues in Chicago at airports in Dubai and East Midlands in central England. While Germany has banned all flights from Yemen, Britain has threatened to ban all unaccompanied cargo from Yemen. Other European countries as well as Australia have ordered a rigorous security screening of all Yemeni cargo at airports across Europe as well as Australia.
It was a timely tip off from the intelligence agencies of UAE that led to discovery of the parcels — containing the plastic explosive PETN, which can dupe X-Ray screening machines, hidden in printer cartridges — before they could hit US shores. Incidentally, the first parcel was already past the security check in Germany when the German intelligence agency, BND , received an alert from the UAE. The cargo airliner had taken off for the US by the time the German authorities got into action. Fortunately, the British authorities were immediately alerted and the cargo plane was made to land at East Midlands airport in central England, where the Yemeni parcel was intercepted.
The second parcel was loaded on a flight originating from Sanaa. It transited through Doha before hitting Dubai, where the parcel was discovered by the UAE authorities. Yemen has emerged as a major source of terror threats in the recent times. The ancestral homeland of Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, it is now the headquarters of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.
Source: The Economic Times

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