Yemeni Woman Arrested in Foiled Chicago Parcel Bomb Attack


(JTA) — Security forces in Yemen arrested a university student suspected of mailing two bombs to synagogues in Chicago.

The woman has been identified as Hanan Al-Samawi, 22, an engineering student at Sana’a University. Her mother, 45, was also arrested, according to reports.

One of the bombs, which was identified and defused at a FedEx Corp. way station in the United Arab Emirates on Friday, bore the hallmarks of an Al-Qaeda bomb, Dubai police said, according to reports. A second, similar bomb was located Friday in London. The explosives were hidden inside printer cartridges. Both bombs were large enough to bring down an airplane and could be detonated by remote control.

President Obama said Friday that the packages headed for the United States constituted a "credible terrorist threat" and had been addressed to Jewish organizations in the Chicago area.

One of the reported targets of the bombs was Congregation Or Chadash, which serves gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender Jews and shares space with Emanuel Congregation, a Reform temple, in a building along Chicago’s lakefront, according to the Chicago Tribune.

A second targeted synagogue reportedly was in Chicago’s East Rogers Park neighborhood, according to the Tribune, though the newspaper reports that have been no operating synagogues in the neighborhood since 2002.

United States Deputy National Security Adviser John Brennan told Sunday morning news shows that there might be more mail bombs like those discovered on Friday out there. He added that the potential attacks are characteristic of al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula.

"They are a dangerous group. They are a determined group. They are still at war with us and we are very much at war with them. They are going to try to identify vulnerabilities that might exist in the system," Brennan told "Meet the Press."

Brennan said that officials are trying to determine whether the planes or the synagogues were the intended targets.