We’re hearing reports of suspicious packages on UPS planes that have landed at Newark and Philadelphia Airports, as well as a suspected explosive device on a UPS truck in Long Island City, Queens, which the bomb squad is investigating.
These reports follow the discovery of another “suspicious package” on a plane en route from Yemen to Chicago and stopped in London overnight, which contained a “manipulated” toner cartridge — with “wires attached to it and white powder” — but tested negative for explosive material.
“The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is aware of and monitoring reports of potentially suspicious items onboard cargo flights that landed safely at Newark Liberty and Philadelphia International airports,” the agency said in a statement. “Out of an abundance of caution the planes were moved to a remote location where they are being met by law enforcement officials and swept.”
Update: Contrary to earlier reports, the UPS truck was, apparently, in Brooklyn. Both Brooklyn and Newark Airport have since been declared all clear. According to the Wall Street Journal, no explosives were found during initial tests of the packages (which can be linked to Yemen), but, in conjunction with an uptick in chatter about a potential terror attack in the works, authorities may be speculating whether the devices were planted to test security systems.
Per CNN, officials believe al Qaeda is behind the packages. Security at U.S. airports has been heightened.
And now, “out of an abundance of caution,” NORAD is now escorting a passenger flight, Emirates 201, en route from Dubai to JFK, to the airport. The flight originated in Yemen.
Two Canadian CF-18s began to track a civilian aircraft that was “determined to be an aircraft of interest” as it flew over Canadian airspace, spokesman John Cornelio said.
Two US F-15s then picked up the escort to JFK, which is ongoing.
FBI Special Agent Richard Kolko said “This is only because there is cargo from Yemen on the flight. There is no known threat associated with this cargo or this flight.”