- The Washington Times - Sunday, October 31, 2010

The White House’s top counterterrorism adviser said Sunday the explosive devices found last week on planes bound for the United States could be just part of an ongoing terror threat from al Qaeda.

“It has all the hallmarks of al Qaeda,” John Brennan, deputy national security adviser for homeland security and counterterrorism, said on “Fox News Sunday.”

Mr. Brennan also said that the United States “cannot presume no more [explosive devices] are out there” and that “every day we are focused on the threat al Qaeda presents to us.”

Mr. Brennan said al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, or AQAP, the same group behind the attempt to blow up a U.S.-bound plane on Christmas Day 2009, appears behind the attempted attack last week.

He confirmed that officials in Yemen, from which the packages were sent, have arrested two women suspected of delivering the packages to FedEx and United Parcel Service offices.

Yemeni officials are “confident these are the two women who delivered the packages,” Mr. Brennan said.

A 22-year-old female student who allegedly delivered the packages and her mother were detained Saturday in connection with the alleged incident. The student was held after her telephone number appeared on one of the packages.

Yemeni police late Sunday released the computer-engineering student, Hanan al-Samawi, according to the Associated Press. It was unclear whether her mother is still being detained.

The explosives were addressed to Chicago-area synagogues. British and United Arab Emirates officials found the devices in cargo planes Friday.

Mr. Brennan said early analysis shows the devices were designed so they could detonate in midair.

Mr. Brennan said al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, or AQAP, the same group behind the attempt to blow up a U.S.-bound plane on Christmas Day 2009, appears behind the attempted attack last week.

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