Air freight security review pledged

Britain is to review its security policies for air freight
Britain is to review its security policies for air freight

By Alex Stevenson

The government is to review its approach to cargo security for air freight, home secretary Theresa May announced.

It follows prime minister David Cameron's confirmation yesterday that explosives found on a plane which stopped at East Midlands airport had the destructive potential to bring down an aircraft.

Britain has banned all planes with freight from the Yemen from coming into the country or passing through UK airspace, Ms May told BBC1's The Andrew Marr Show.

"Certainly, we have to look at our processes of searching and how we detect these devices," she acknowledged.

Her comments came as investigations into the explosions continued. The Metropolitan police service's counter-terrorism command liaises with Britain's intelligence agencies and those abroad.

By Sunday morning it had emerged Yemeni security forces had arrested a female medical student in the capital, Sanaa, after her phone number had been traced from a cargo firm.

Media reports suggest attention is now being focused on Ibrahim Hassan al-Asiri, a bombmaker born in Saudi Arabia who is being viewed as the 'Yemeni Osama bin Laden'.

Mr Cameron told the BBC yesterday: "In the end these terrorists think that our connectedness, our openness as modern countries, is what makes us weak.

"They're wrong, it's a source of our strength. And we will use that strength, that determination, that power and that solidarity to defeat them."

It is not yet clear whether the intention of the package discovered on Friday on board a cargo plane from Yemen bound for the United States was to detonate in the air.

Mr Cameron spoke to Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh yesterday afternoon to secure a reaffirmation of Mr Saleh's commitment to fighting terrorism.

"They agreed that their authorities would continue to work closely together to identify and bring to justice those involved in this plot," a Downing Street spokesperson said.

The prime minister added yesterday: "A package that started in Yemen, that landed in Germany, that landed in Britain en route to America, it just shows how united and determined we have to be to defeat terrorism."

He said there was no evidence that the package had been designed to go off over British soil, but added that this could not be ruled out.

"The crucial thing is we did find it and we were able to take action on it," Ms May said this morning.


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