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3-continent terror plot targeting planes foiled

world Updated: Oct 31, 2010 01:29 IST

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Authorities on three continents thwarted multiple terror attacks aimed at the US from Yemen on Friday, seizing two explosive packages addressed to Chicago-area synagogues and packed aboard cargo jets.

One of the packages was found aboard a cargo plane in Dubai, the other in England. The plot triggered worldwide fears that al Qaeda was launching a new terror campaign.

Preliminary tests indicated the packages contained the powerful industrial explosive PETN, the same chemical used in the failed Detroit airliner bombing in December 2009, US officials said. The tests had not been confirmed.

US President Barack Obama called the coordinated attacks a "credible terrorist threat".

The packets contained sophisticated bombs and were designed to explode in the air and bring down the cargo planes carrying them, UK security officials said.

In the US, cargo planes were searched up and down the Eastern Seaboard, and an Emirates Airlines passenger jet was escorted down the coast to New York by American fighter jets.

No explosives were found aboard those planes, although the investigation was on.