Packages sent from Yemen to the US in September may have been a “dry run” for the explosives intercepted Friday, officials tell the New York Times. American officials investigated the parcels at the time and, finding no explosives, allowed them to continue to “random addresses” in Chicago. But investigators “considered the possibility” that al-Qaeda’s Yemen branch “might be exploring the logistics of the cargo system,” noted one insider.
US agents “recalled the incident and factored it in to our government’s very prompt response” to Friday’s shipment. Recently, the militant group’s English-language magazine printed a photo of the Chicago skyline, the official added. European countries yesterday stepped up aviation security, with Britain banning passengers from bringing printer cartridges on planes. Meanwhile, Yemen has charged an American-born cleric Anwar al-Awlaki over al-Qaeda membership and plotting to kill foreigners, the AP notes, though he hasn’t been publicly linked to Friday’s incident.