United Kingdom/Yemen – According to the British Whitehall officials bomb makers in Yemen are determined to develop even harder-to-detect devices to smuggle on board planes bound for Western counties. Three years ago a bomb sent from al-Qaeda in Yemen was found on a plane at East Midlands airport disguised as a printer, another reached Dubai airport. Since then a further device was found in Yemen in May 12. In the airline security business, they call them Artfully Concealed Devices: sophisticated bombs, mostly non-metallic with a hard-to-detect, "low-vapour explosive" like pentaerythritol tetranitrate (PETN), disguised inside ordinary, harmless items like shoes, underpants, soft drink bottles or even printer ink toner cartridges. Three times the al-Qaeda's franchise al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), was able to evade airport security and smuggle bombs on board planes in 2009 and 2010. Now Whitehall officials believe they are trying again. Little wonder that of all al-Qaeda's branches around the world, AQAP in Yemen is considered to be the most dangerous to the West. "The most serious terrorist threat to European aviation comes from AQAP," "They are technically adept, they move very fast, they have a core of experienced people, they operate in a country with fragile areas and elude the Yemeni authorities. Plus they have the ability to inspire people to lone acts of terror." The number of British airports with security body scanners is now being doubled from ten to twenty-one in response to the new threat.
Al-Qaeda in Arabian Peninsula airline bombs
- August 2009: AQAP bomb-maker Ibrahim al-Asiri sends his brother from Yemen to Saudi Arabia to assassinate a senior Saudi prince. The device explodes next to the prince but kills only the bomber
- December 2009: AQAP sends Nigerian Omar Abdulmutallab on a flight to Detroit with a bomb hidden in his underpants. He lights the fuse, but is overpowered before it goes off
- October 2010: AQAP sends two bombs hidden inside printer ink toner cartridges on cargo flights destined for Chicago. One is intercepted in Dubai, the other at East Midlands Airport after a tip-off
- May 2012: AQAP gives a newly upgraded airline bomb to a supposed suicide bomber, but he is a Saudi double agent and he passes it to Saudi intelligence