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PARIS (AP) — One of two mail bombs sent from Yemen last week was disarmed just 17 minutes before it was set to go off, the French interior minister said Thursday.
Brice Hortefeux provided no other details in an interview on France's state-run France-2 television, or say where he got the information about the timing.
"One of the packages was defused only 17 minutes before the moment that it was set to explode," he said.
When investigators pulled the Chicago-bound packages off cargo planes in England and the United Arab Emirates Friday, they found the bombs wired to cell phones and hidden in the toner cartridges of computer printers. The communication cards had been removed and the phones could not receive calls, officials said, making it likely the terrorists intended the alarm or timer functions to detonate the bombs, U.S. officials have said.
They also that each bomb was attached to a syringe containing lead azide, a chemical initiator that would have detonated PETN explosives packed into each printer cartridge. Both PETN and a syringe were used in the failed bombing last Christmas of a Detroit-bound airliner.
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