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Al Qaida 'behind mail bomb plot'

A Yemen-based al Qaida group is claiming responsibility for the international mail bomb plot uncovered late last week and 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 US, al Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula issued a message saying it will continue to strike American and Western interests. They specifically said they would target civilian and cargo aircraft. The claim was reported by the private SITE Intelligence Group.

US officials have said all week that there were strong indications that the plot came out of AQAP, a terror group that has been gathering strength and increasingly triggering attacks on Western targets. But officials have said the September crash was caused by an onboard fire.

A US counter-terrorism official said the group remains a serious threat.

A security official in the UAE familiar with the investigations into the September 3 crash of a UPS cargo plane in Dubai and the mail bombs plot said there is no change in the findings that the UPS crash in September was likely caused by an onboard fire and not by an explosive device.

"There was no explosion," the official said.

"We struck three blows to your aircraft within one year. Allah willing, we will continue to strike blows against American interests and the interest of Americas allies," said AQAP in its statement.

The group said that its "advanced devices allow us the opportunity to detonate it remotely in the air or after it reaches its final destination, and it is designed to go through all detectors".

Both mail bombs were wired to detonators that used mobile phone technology.

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