DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – A Yemen-based al-Qaida group on Friday claimed responsibility for the international mail bomb plot uncovered late last week as well as the crash of a United Parcel Service cargo plane in September.
A week after authorities intercepted packages in Dubai and Britain that were bound for the U.S., al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula issued a statement taking credit for the plot and saying it would continue to strike American and Western interests. The group specifically said it would target civilian and cargo aircraft.
"We have struck three blows at your airplanes in a single year. And God willing, we will continue to strike our blows against American interests and the interests of America's allies," the group said in a message posted on a militant website.
The authenticity of Friday's claim could not be immediately verified. A U.S. intelligence official said authorities are not surprised to see this claim now.
U.S. officials have said all week that there were strong indications the plot originated with al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, a terror group that has become al-Qaida's most active franchise and has increasingly carried out attacks on Western targets.
Authorities in the U.S. and the UAE have said the Sept. 3 crash of the UPS plane in Dubai shortly after takeoff was caused by an onboard fire, but investigators are taking another look at the incident following the parcel bomb plot.
A security official in the UAE familiar with the investigations into the UPS cargo plane crash in Dubai and the mail bombs plot told The Associated Press Friday that there is no change in earlier findings and that the UPS crash in September was likely caused by an onboard fire and not by an explosive device.
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