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Parcel bomb was 'minutes from exploding' - French minister

Brice Hortefeux has told French television that one of the parcel bombs was just 17 minutes from exploding.

Image: AP Photo/Dubai Police via Emirates News Agency/AP/Press Association Images

FRANCE’S INTERIOR MINISTER has claimed that one of the two parcel bombs intercepted last week was just 17 minutes from exploding when it was intercepted.

Brice Hortefeux revealed the news to France-2 television, but did not identify his source for the information, according to the BBC.

Hortefeux also refused to indicate which one of the two parcel bombs – found in Dubai and East Midlands airports – was close to exploding. The France-2 interviewer, it is understood, did not push the matter.

Hortefeux said:

There were parcel bombs from Yemen heading for the United States, and I can tell you, for example, that one of these parcels was disarmed 17 minutes before the planned explosion.

However, the claim has been denied by some of those familiar with the situation, according to The Guardian.

Officials investigating the bomb found at East Midlands airport refuted Hortefeux’s remarks in a very brief statement, simply insisting: “There is nothing to support that. There’s been no immediate comment from investigators examining the bomb found at Dubai airport in the UAE.”

The two bombs, discovered on Friday, were concealed in printer toner cartridges and were wired to mobile phones, presumably so that they could be remotely detonated.

The packages were sent from Yemen by air freight last week and addressed to synagogues in Chicago. They were intercepted after a tip off from Saudi Arabian authorities before being defused.

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A Yemeni terrorist group has claimed responsibility for the attacks. Security forces in that country are reportedly hunting for suspected bombmaker Ibrahim al-Asiri in connection with the two devices.

Al-Asiri is also believed to be behind the failed attempt to blow up a US airliner on Christmas Day last year.

About the author:

Hugh O'Connell

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