YEMENI police have seized 26 suspect parcels after authorities found explosives in two other parcels sent from Yemen to US.
A security source said that employees of an unnamed air transport company, and employees from the Sanaa airport cargo-handling division, had been detained for questioning by authorities Saturday.
The information comes as the British government’s emergency committee – Cobra – met in London to review the ongoing investigation into the terror plot, which saw one device found at East Midlands Airport in central England in the early hours of Friday morning.
After the meeting, the Home Office Secretary, Theresa May, said: “I can confirm that the device was viable and could have exploded. The target may have been an aircraft, and had it detonated the aircraft could have been brought down.”
“At this stage there is no information to indicate another attack is imminent. The threat level in this country is severe.”
Another parcel was found in Dubai, which police have since confirmed contained a powerful explosive and a mobile phone detonator.
The US Homeland Security Secretary, Janet Napolitano, said that the bomb plot bore the hallmarks of an attack by al-Qaeda.
She said that the US had no specific information that suggested any other suspicious parcels were headed for the US.
“We are acting with an abundance of caution. [But] do we have specific information about other packages? No,” she said.
Ms Napolitano said investigations into “exactly what these devices had in them” were ongoing, adding: “All of that needs to be done by trained scientists, and they are doing that now.”
She said that the terror plot was foiled by the US with the help of foreign intelligence services in Britain, the UAE and Saudi Arabia.
“We’re always looking to improve (security), and we recognise that our adversaries are ever-changing, and the threats are ever-changing,” she said.
The discovery of the two packages on cargo planes in transit for the US sparked an international security alert.
Warnings about terrorist plots originating in Yemen, where al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) is based, were heightened after AQAP operative Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, 24, tried to detonate explosives on a jetliner as it approached Detroit on Christmas Day in 2009.