Qatar Airways says parcel bomb found in Dubai traveled on passenger flights

October 31st, 2010 - 7:33 pm ICT by BNO News  

DUBAI (BNO NEWS) — Qatar Airways on Sunday confirmed that an explosive device discovered at a FedEx facility in Dubai on Friday had traveled on two of its passenger flights before it was detected, saying it was extremely sophisticated.

The bomb in Dubai was part of a suspected al-Qaeda plot in which two bombs were sent from Yemen to religious institutions in Chicago. One of the bombs was flown aboard a UPS plane to Germany and eventually to England, while the other bomb was flown by Qatar Airways to Dubai.

Qatar Airways said the package containing the bomb was carried aboard one of its aircraft on two flights, one from Sana’a in Yemen to Doha International Airport in Qatar and another from Qatar to Dubai.

“As per Chicago Convention, it is not the responsibility of the country in which the cargo transits to x-ray or inspect the cargo,” the airline said in a statement. “This responsibility belongs to the country from where the consignment originates.”

Furthermore, Qatar Airways said the device was so sophisticated that x-ray screening and sniffer dogs would not have found the bomb if it had checked the package. “The explosives discovered were of a sophisticated nature whereby they could not be detected by x-ray screening or trained sniffer dogs,” the airline said. “The explosives were only discovered after an intelligence tip off.”

The explosives in England and Dubai were discovered after intelligence agencies in Saudi Arabia received information about the terrorist plot. However, as Qatar Airways acknowledged on Sunday, authorities in England and Dubai had difficulty to confirm the devices were in fact bombs.

Police in England first responded to the UPS plane at East Midlands Airport at around 3.30 a.m. local time on Friday after which local explosives experts determined the package to be safe. Only hours later, police confirmed the device was in fact a bomb after more intelligence information had become available.

On Saturday, British officials said the bomb found in England was powerful enough to bring down the aircraft if had been detonated during the flight.

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