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Scotland Yard: Toner bomb timed to blow

WASHINGTON, Nov. 10 (UPI) -- A bomb found on a cargo plane in London last month likely would have detonated over the United States had it not been found, Scotland Yard said Wednesday.

A senior U.S. counter-terrorism official said the device was primed to explode several hours after it was found, possibly over the East Coast, CNN reported.

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"Forensic examination has indicated that if the device had activated, it would have been at 10:30 hrs BST (5:30 a.m. EST) on Friday, 29 October 2010," Scotland Yard said in a statement. "If the device had not been removed from the aircraft the activation could have occurred over the eastern seaboard of the U.S."

Authorities in the United Arab Emirates and Britain found two packages of explosives sent from Yemen Oct. 29 addressed to synagogues in Chicago. The devices, loaded with the powerful explosive PETN, were packed in computer printer toner cartridges and designed to be detonated by a cellphone, officials have indicated.

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Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula said in a statement it sent two devices -- one on a UPS cargo plane and the other on a FedEx cargo plane -- since Western investigators and media didn't tie a UPS plane crash to the group in September.

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The statement said the bombs' design "allow(s) us the opportunity to detonate them in the air or after their arrival to their ultimate destination, and they are designed to pass through all detectors."

U.S. investigators said they believe al-Qaida bomb-maker Ibrahim Hasan al-Asiri is tied to the packages, a federal official briefed by authorities told CNN. Al-Asiri also is thought to be the bomb-builder in last year's failed attempt to blow up a U.S. airliner as it landed in Detroit on Christmas Day.

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