Jim Kouri
Yemeni terror threats spark fears in U.S., Britain
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By Jim Kouri
October 30, 2010

US officials said Friday afternoon that two military fighter jets are escorting a commercial airliner from the Canadian border to New York City. The plane is carrying cargo from Yemen. The officials said there is no known threat associated with the plane.

Meanwhile, federal law enforcement agencies are tracking suspicious packages shipped from Yemen to the US, prompting searches of cargo planes and ground carriers throughout the Northeast.

The shipments could be part of a possible terrorist plot, according to the Obama White House.

Earlier today, police bomb technicians examined a suspicious package flown in from Yemen to a regional British airport, but they reported the object was not a bomb although it appeared "sinister." The package was removed from an American cargo plane at East Midlands Airport which was en route to Chicago via Philadelphia, British police said in a statement.

Scotland Yard officials reported that the object was "definitely not a complete bomb but it was potentially sinister. "The Metropolitan Police, which took over responsibility for the operation from local police, said in a statement: "The plane stopped at East Midlands Airport as part of a routine stopover.

One package from Yemen was discovered in Brooklyn, New York early this afternoon. New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly has given the all clear in Brooklyn, where one of several suspicious packages examined by NYPD bomb technicians. Kelly said an envelope removed from a UPS truck in Brooklyn appeared to contained bank receipts.

As a precaution, the Department of Homeland Security has taken a number of steps to enhance security. Some of these security measures will be visible while others will not.

"The public may recognize specific enhancements including heightened cargo screening and additional security at airports. Passengers should continue to expect an unpredictable mix of security layers that include explosives trace detection, advanced imaging technology, canine teams and pat downs, among others," according to a DHS report obtained by the National Association of Chiefs of Police.

"As always, we remind the public to remain vigilant and report suspicious activity to local law enforcement," said DHS officials.

YEMEN IMAMS THREATEN U.S.

Yemen, located on the Arabian peninsula, is becoming a hotbed of Jihadi activity over the last couple of years.

In January, 2010, following the failed Christmas bombing attempt in a plane landing at Detroit's International Airport, a group of Imams from mosques in Yemen sent a message to President Barack Obama threatening to declare Jihad (holy war) if any foreign troops attempt to assist Yemeni forces in battling the growing number of al-Qaeda terrorists operating and training in their country.

The announcement was believed to be directed specifically at U.S. government officials who are assisting Yemen in its counterterrorism operations. The Islamic leaders said that their call for Jihad will be initiated if any troops land in Yemen or are present within that nation's territorial waters.

Yemeni al-Qaeda members claimed responsibility for the unsuccessful bombing of a Northwest Airlines plane landing at Detroit International Airport on Christmas Day. As a result, the United States and Britain increased military aid to Yemen in order to fight the terrorists and stop foreign fighters from entering that impoverished African nation..

Yemen's recent history is one of violence and civil wars. The central government does not control several regions of the country and armed warlords and their militias are a source of instability within the central government.

According to intelligence sources, the Yemeni government observes an unwritten policy of ignoring the activities of terrorist groups such as al-Qaeda which, after being pushed out of Afghanistan, has taken a foothold in Yemen and practically duplicated what the terrorists once had thanks to the Afghan Taliban rulers.

While there are no indications that the U.S. is planning to "put boots on the ground" in Yemen, the government has increased its anti-terrorism assistance to its military. Britain has also indicated it too would provide assistance to the Yemeni military and security forces.

Last year, the U.S. increased counterterrorism assistance to Yemen with $67 million in military aid. In addition, the Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's office unveiled a plan to provide development assistance in the amount of more than $60 million to that impoverished nation in the fiscal year 2010.

But intelligence, security, and military experts believe the amount of money being spent is inadequate to fight the terrorists and prevent the creation of a new "Afghanistan" in northern Africa.

© Jim Kouri

 

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Jim Kouri

Jim Kouri, CPP is currently fifth vice-president of the National Association of Chiefs of Police... (more)

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