A woman was arrested in Yemen on Saturday in connection with the suspicious packages found on Friday, thought to be explosives sent by al Qaeda toward Newark and Philadelphia, ultimately meant for synagogues in Chicago, according to the New York Times. Yemeni officials confirmed the arrest as Homeland Security secretary Janet Napolitano said Saturday that the foiled plot “has the hallmarks of Al Qaeda.”
Via the Times:
The president of Yemen, Ali Abdullah Saleh, said on Saturday night that Yemeni security forces had surrounded a house in the Yemeni capital, Sana, where the woman was hiding. They discovered the woman’s role based on a tip from American officials, Mr. Saleh said.
Unfortunately, officials also commented on just how good the explosives were:
In further evidence that Al Qaeda’s affiliate in Yemen is steadily improving its abilities to strike on American soil, American officials said Saturday that the powerful bombs were expertly constructed and unusually sophisticated.
Investigators said that the bomb discovered at the Dubai airport in the United Arab Emirates was concealed in a Hewlett-Packard desktop printer, with high explosives packed into an ink cartridge to avoid detection by scanners.
They look to be the work of Ibrahim Hassan al-Asiri, “the top bomb-maker for Al Qaeda in Yemen.” Britain’s home secretary Theresa May reiterated the danger. “I can confirm the device was viable and could have exploded,” Ms. May said. “The target may have been an aircraft, and had it detonated the aircraft could have been brought down.”
Yemen Arrests Suspect in Plot as U.S. Eyes Qaeda Group [NYT]