World

Yemen bomb timed to explode over Que.

A mail bomb that was intercepted in England last month would have been in Canadian airspace, several hundred kilometres northwest of Quebec City, when it was timed to detonate, authorities say.
Authorities investigate UPS containers in the cargo area of East Midlands Airport, near Nottingham, in central England on Oct. 28. ((David Jones/Associated Press))

A mail bomb that was intercepted in England last month would have been in Canadian airspace when authorities say it was timed to detonate.

Data from Houston-based Flightaware shows that UPS Flight 232 from the East Midlands to Philadelphia was 257 kilometres northwest of Quebec City at 5:30 a.m. ET.

That's the time British police say the bomb was set to blow up. The plane left England at 3:20 a.m. local time on Oct. 29, two hours after landing, but the bomb had already been pulled off.

Flight 232 makes daily flights to the U.S. but not always along the same route. Had the plane taken its alternate route — straight across the Atlantic — it likely would have been over the U.S. when it blew up.

In Washington, the White House said the British finding showed how serious the planned attack was. Earlier this month, a senior U.S. official had said that while the exact aim of the attack was unclear, evidence pointed to a plot to blow up cargo planes inside the U.S., either on runways or over American cities.

Authorities on both sides of the Atlantic said they only narrowly thwarted the plot, in which terrorists in Yemen hid two powerful bombs inside printers and shipped them to addresses in Chicago aboard two cargo planes.

The printer cartridges were filled with PETN, an industrial explosive that, when X-rayed, would resemble the cartridges' ink powder.

One bomb was intercepted at central England's East Midlands Airport and the other was discovered at a FedEx cargo facility in Dubai.

The Yemen-based al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula has claimed responsibility for the bombs and has vowed to send more explosives-packed parcels.

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