Colleen Chen, News 9
OKLAHOMA CITY -- The Memorial Institute for the Prevention of Terrorism in Oklahoma City said the thwarted terrorism effort on cargo planes Thursday emphasizes the need for the institute which works to train officers on spotting signs of terrorist activity.
"It is one of the 850,000 line officers in this country who will likely see the next act of terrorism in the planning state here in the United States," said MIPT's executive director David Cid. "Terrorists clearly still have a fascination with attacks via airplanes. The failed attempt though will not slow them down. It will make them more anxious and determined to complete an attack because their message depends on it."
He believes al Qaeda may have been testing the ability to detect explosives with the attempted attack. He said authorities will need to be vigilant outside of air travel because terrorists may use the cargo plane attempts as a distraction for a different terrorist attack.
Top U.S. Officials believe the attempt was put on by a branch of al Qaeda known as the al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.
Cid said the AQAP is more organized than al Qaeda terrorists in Afghanistan.
"They are philosophically affiliated with al Qaeda and share the same goals but they are a distinct organization. Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula seems to have a bit more structure to it and is in countries like Yemen where the government is quite weak," Cid added.
Authorities seized two explosive packages addressed to Chicago-area synagogues and packed aboard cargo jets from Yemen.
One of the packages was found aboard a cargo plane in Dubai, the other in England. In the U.S., cargo planes were searched up and down the Eastern Seaboard, and an Emirates Airlines passenger jet was escorted down the coast to New York by American fighter jets.
No explosives were found aboard those planes, though the investigation was continuing.
Authorities in Dubai intercepted one explosive device. The second package was aboard a plane searched in East Midlands, north of London, and officials said it contained a printer toner cartridge with wires and powder.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.