The explosive devices found in the UK at East Midlands Airport and in Dubai on planes travelling to the USA from Yemen in late October have prompted concerns from the British government as to whether the UK was in fact the target of what have been described as ‘ink cartridge bombs’. David Cameron announced in his statement that he believed the bomb was intended to go off when the plane was in flight and that it could not immediately be concluded that it would not have blown up over British soil.
The bombs were described to be ‘highly sophisticated’ and undetectable even by sniffer dogs. Dubai police stated that the explosives were inside a printer cartridge in a box with books and souvenirs. One of the devices had been connected to a mobile, whilst the other was linked to a timer. It was not until a second examination that the danger of the situation came to light.
Investigations have suggested that Anwar al-Awlaki, leader of the al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, is key to the foiled attack – He is currently believed to be hiding in Yemen, and a Yemeni woman has also been arrested after evidence indicated the possibility of her involvement in posting the packages.
In an attempt to improve our security, toner cartridges of more than 500g in weight will be forbidden in hand luggage on flights departing the UK, and Britain has banned all unaccompanied packages coming from Yemen. Cartridges may not be shipped into or out of Britain unless provided by a supplier approved by the Department of Transport.
The current international terrorism threat level in Britain is ‘severe’, which states that a terrorist attack is ‘highly likely’.