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Cargo bombs plot 'cost just £2,628'

Al Qaida of the Arabian Peninsula claims its attempts to blow up package bombs on two cargo flights headed to the US cost only 4,200 dollars (£2,628), terrorist monitoring groups said.

In an edition of the Yemen-based group's online Inspire magazine, it details how what it calls Operation Haemorrhage used common items such as Nokia mobile phones and two HP printers stuffed with an organic explosive.

It claims the same method brought down a cargo plane in Dubai.

The group said the plot was part of a new strategy - to replace spectacular attacks in favour of smaller attacks to hit the US economy, according to Ben Venske's IntelCentre and the Site Intelligence Group.

US officials insist the Dubai cargo plane crash was an accident, not terrorism.

"To bring down America we do not need to strike big," the editors of Inspire write.

With the "security phobia that is sweeping America, it is more feasible to stage smaller attacks that involve less players and less time to launch", thereby circumventing US security, they conclude.

In the magazine, an author identified as the group's head of foreign operations says the package attacks were intended to cause economic harm, not casualties.

"We knew that cargo planes are staffed by only a pilot and a co-pilot," the author writes, "so our objective was not to cause maximum casualties but to cause maximum losses to the American economy" by striking at the multibillion-dollar US freight industry.

The al Qaida offshoot insists it also brought down a UPS cargo plane in Dubai in September, in addition to the October 29 attempts to bring down a FedEx plane, and a UPS plane bound for the US. But US officials insist the Dubai crash was an accident caused by a battery fire, not terrorism.

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