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Al-Qaida Claims Mail Bomb Plot

A general view shows the military compound where a 747-400 Boeing cargo plane operated by United Parcel Service Inc crashed, 05 Sep 2010 (file)

The United Arab Emirates aviation authority says it is investigating a claim by the Yemen-based wing of al-Qaida that it was behind the September crash of a United Parcel Service plane in Dubai.

The head of the aviation authority, Saif al-Suwaidi, told news outlets Saturday that officials are taking the claim seriously. But he said there is no evidence of an explosion on the UPS plane or of a connection to terrorism.

Investigators have said an onboard fire caused the crash, which killed the plane's two pilots.

The Yemen-based Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) claimed responsibility for the crash Friday and said it also was behind the foiled plot to send mail bombs to the United States on cargo planes.

The group posted a message on Islamist websites saying it will continue to strike the interests of the U.S. and U.S. allies.

U.S. officials have suspected al-Qaida in Yemen was behind the parcel bombs intercepted in Dubai and England last week.

The New York Times newspaper reported Friday that Saudi intelligence officials warned the U.S. in early October that the Yemen-based group was planning a terrorist attack using aircraft, three weeks before the plot was intercepted.

The report cites unnamed U.S. and European officials as saying the warning came October 9 and was one of a series of alerts from the Saudis. The Times quotes a U.S. official as saying the intelligence information contained no mention of cargo planes or the precise details of the plot.

U.S. officials have identified AQAP member Ibrahim Hasan al-Asiri as the probable mastermind behind the parcel bombs.

Al-Asiri also is suspected of making the bomb used in an attempt to kill Saudi Arabia's deputy interior minister, Prince Mohammed bin Naif, in 2009.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.