Security talks held over cargo bomb plot

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Indy Politics

Aviation industry leaders will meet Transport Secretary Philip Hammond later today to discuss security in the wake of the air cargo bomb plot.

Airlines, airports and parcel companies will be among those represented at the meeting in London.

Earlier this week Home Secretary Theresa May had announced that Mr Hammond would be having "a high-level meeting" to discuss the next steps in aviation security.

One of the explosive devices in last week's incident was on board a Chicago-bound UPS courier aircraft which ended up at East Midlands Airport in the UK.

The other was being transported by FedEx to Chicago and was located and identified in Dubai.

Both explosive devices originated in Yemen and are thought to have been made and dispatched by al Qaida.

Today French interior minister Brice Hortefeux said one of the two devices was defused just 17 minutes before it was set to explode.

Speaking on a French TV station, the minister did not say which of the two bombs he was referring to or say where he got his information.

Explosives were packed into toner cartridges of computer printers in the two packages discovered last week.

The banning of the carrying of toner cartridges larger than 500g in passengers' hand luggage on flights departing from UK airports was one of the new security measures announced by Mrs May earlier this week.

She also said the banning of the carrying of toner cartridges by air cargo into, via or from the UK unless they originated from a known consignor - a regular shipper with security arrangements approved by the UK Department for Transport.

Mrs May also announced she was extending the suspension of unaccompanied air freight to the UK not just from Yemen but also from Somalia.

She also said that all aspects of air freight would be reviewed and there would be updating of guidance given to airport staff based on what had been learned from the Yemeni incidents.

The toner cartridge bans will initially be in place for one month while longer-term measures are worked out, Mrs May said.

The Yemeni incidents had followed a call by British Airways chairman Martin Broughton for the easing of some airport security checks.