A Saudi tip about a possible al-Qaeda attempt to bring down airplanes was conveyed to American authorities in early October, nearly three weeks before the group's Yemen arm tried to ship mail bombs to the U.S. in cargo planes, U.S. intelligence officials said late Friday. Western officials give credit to Riyadh for playing a crucial role in finding two mail bombs recovered last week in Dubai and Britain before they reached the U.S.
On Friday, the Yemen-based al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula claimed responsibility for sending the two bombs and threatened more attacks on civilian and cargo planes. The group also said it had a role in the crash of a UPS cargo plane in Dubai in September, but investigators so far have insisted an accident was at fault.
According to the AP, the Saudi tip last month included no mention of cargo planes, or any details of the plot carried out last week, said U.S. officials. But they said it gave the U.S. and other Western officials enough of a warning to know what to look for when another Saudi tip arrived last week.