The U.S. Postal Service suspended service for mail coming out of Yemen this weekend as new details emerged about the movement of explosives in packages bound for the United States.
The temporary suspension of mail was “issued in response to the potential threat posed by suspicious packages arriving in the U.S. aboard international flights originating in Yemen,” the USPS said.
The postal service did not detail any security efforts but said it had “heightened awareness among its employees, and remains vigilant in ensuring its security processes are adhered to in the acceptance of international mail arriving in the U.S.”
The postal action came as reports in the Middle East that said the explosive device discovered in Dubai had been carried on a Qatar Airways passenger aircraft from Yemen to connect with a FedEx Express freighter flight out of the Dubai airport.
The device found in the United Kingdom was discovered in UPS control, but authorities missed the package on an initial search and searched again and found it only after the device in Dubai was identified, British aviation security consultant Chris Yates told The Associated Press.
It remained unclear how the parcel made its way from Yemen into the UPS system. Neither UPS nor FedEx operate their own aircraft in Yemen and both rely on third parties such as Qatar Airways to ferry shipments to their express hubs.
Packages carried on freighters are not subject to same level of screening as shipments on passenger aircraft in the United States, but the requirement that 100 percent of cargo shipments carried on passenger planes is a U.S. regulation. Rules and standards for air cargo security around the world vary by country.