DUBAI (Reuters) – Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways has stopped cargo shipments from Yemen and Somalia, a spokesman said, as security measures are increased after two U.S.-bound parcel bombs from Yemen were intercepted in Britain and Dubai.
The change, announced on Thursday, aims to meet several countries’ plans to tighten air cargo monitoring after the bomb plot, the company spokesman said.
The parcel bombs are suspected to be the work of al Qaeda’s Yemen-based regional arm, Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). Lawless Somalia is also seen by security analysts as a breeding ground for Islamist militants and foreign jihadists.
“Etihad has ceased cargo shipments from Yemen and Somalia until directives from governments around the world permit carriage of goods to these ports,” he said.
Most airlines have made similar changes for cargo shipment, he added.
Impoverished Yemen, trying to quash al Qaeda while tackling a separatist movement in the south and a shaky truce with insurgents in the north, has again surged to the forefront of international security concerns because of the militant group.
It is the second time AQAP is suspected of trying to strike U.S. targets using aircraft. The group took credit for a foiled Christmas Day plot last year to bomb a U.S.-bound carrier, though no claim of responsibility has yet been made for the parcel plot.