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Dublin: -2 °C Thursday 27 November, 2014

Cargo bomb suspect released after identity theft uncovered

Yemeni student’s personal information was provided by person who sent bomb on cargo plane to the UK. Meanwhile, passenger flights may face new security procedures.

Hanan al-Samawi, right, surrounded by students during a protest at San'a University in the capital San'a, Yemen, today, after the Yemeni police released her.
Hanan al-Samawi, right, surrounded by students during a protest at San'a University in the capital San'a, Yemen, today, after the Yemeni police released her.
Image: Hasan Jamali/AP/Press Association Images

THE YEMENI WOMAN BEING HELD over the bomb discovered on a cargo plane in the UK at the weekend has been released following claims she was the victim of identity theft.

A Yemeni official said that authorities had concluded that an individual who knew the woman’s “full name, address and telephone number” had stolen her identity, according to Al Jazeera.

Hanan al-Samawi, a 22-year-0ld student, was arrested after authorities tracked her down using a telephone number left with a cargo company. Her mother was also detained.

A shipping agency was contacted to identify al-Samawi and confirmed that she was not the person who signed for the shipping, according to the Christian Science Monitor.

About 100 of her fellow students from the Sanaa Univeristy held a demonstration yesterday, calling for her released. Speaking after her release, her father said: “Thank God she’s been released. The problem is over. The truth is revealed”.

Bomb tip-off

The tip-off that led to two devices being discovered on cargo planes in the UK and Dubai was made by a repentant al Qaeda member, according to the BBC.

British officials say the man handed himself over to authorities in Saudi Arabia a fortnight ago. He is believed to be a former Guantanamo detainee who attended a rehabilitation programme in Saudi Arabia, but later re-joined al Qaeda in Yemen.

US officials have named Ibrahim Hassan al-Asiri as their chief suspect for the bombs. John Brennan, counter-terrorism advisor to President Obama, said both bombs were built by the same person who made the failed Christmas Day device.

Air security under review

Germany, which had already banned cargo flights from Yemen, today banned all passenger flights from the country. A spokesperson for Germany’s travel ministry said that the flights would not be allowed to travel over German air space, according to the BBC.

Reuters reports that British prime minister David Cameron has convened a crisis committee meeting to review Britain’s response to the attempted bombing. Britain had halted air freight from Yemen to or through Britain when the bomb was discovered.

A review of airline security is likely, and the former head of security for BAA Norman Shanks has called for a “package by package” check to be carried out on all freight, the Telegraph reports.

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