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Yemen packages: Is Al Qaeda focusing on small-scale attacks?

Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula was behind the failed Christmas Day bomb attempt last year. US authorities believe the terrorist group is focusing on small-scale attacks against the West.

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Yemeni security forces outside a branch of the package delivery firm FedEx in Sanaa on Saturday October 3o. Yemen launched a probe after explosives were found in air parcels sent to US synagogues from its territory by suspected Al-Qaeda militants.

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This week's package bomb attempt, if it was hatched by Al Qaeda, lends support to the notion that the terrorist group is focusing on relatively simple and even small-scale attacks in its efforts to fight America and the West.

Authorities said that parcel bombs bound from Yemen were addressed to two Jewish places of worship in Chicago, although the bombs may have been intended to explode aboard cargo planes and bring them down. The British newspaper the Guardian reported Saturday that one of the devices was linked to a cell phone, while the other was attached to a timer. In any case, the threat is very different in scale and complexity from the 9/11 attacks nine years ago, in which nearly 3,000 people died.

Yet on Saturday, US Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said the evidence is consistent with the idea that Al Qaeda may be behind this latest terror threat.

'All the hallmarks of Al Qaeda'

"I think we would agree with that, that it does contain all the hallmarks of Al Qaeda and in particular Al Qaeda AP," the group's Arabian Peninsula affiliate, Ms. Napolitano said in an interview on ABC News.

The Obama administration has been increasingly focused on the Al Qaeda affiliate, and on Yemen as a high-risk breeding ground for Islamic extremism. Authorities have said Al Qaeda AP was behind the failed Christmas Day bomb attempt last year by a Nigerian airline passenger with explosives hidden in his underwear.

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