UAE sticks to ‘no terror’ angle in UPS plane crash
7 November 2010, 7:02 AM
DUBAI – In a development linked to last weekend’s foiled parcel bomb plots, Al Qaeda’s Yemen wing has also claimed responsibility for the UPS cargo plane crash in Dubai on September 3, a claim which has been taken ‘seriously’ by the UAE’s General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) probing the incident.
The GCAA, however, maintained that evidence from the black box did not support a terror angle to the incident.
“Investigations carried out and the details collected from the wreckage, as well as the eyewitness accounts did not prove the incidence of any explosion on board the US cargo plane UPS, which crashed in Dubai earlier in September this year,’’ a GCAA statement said.
There was no vocal or graphic evidence from the black boxes that an explosion took place on board the flight which killed both pilots, according to the civil aviation authority.
Early findings showed a fire on board the stricken aircraft before it went down in Nad Al Sheba military base.
UPS Media Manager Mike Mangeot told this newspaper the company was backing the GCAA-led probe, which did not reveal an explosion on the aircraft.
“On October 31, the GCAA issued a statement in which they “eliminated the possibility of an onboard explosion following a detailed on site investigation of the wreckage”.
The GCAA also reported that they had “thoroughly analysed the technical data and has concluded that there was no presence of acoustic evidence or any forensic signature supporting the detonation of an explosive device”.
Officials in the United States have also said publicly there is no evidence the crash of the UPS plane was caused by an onboard explosion.
“We continue to participate in the investigation into last week’s suspicious package incident and are working actively to protect the security of our people, aircraft and customers’ shipments,’’ Mangeot said.
Earlier, Al Qaeda’s Yemen-based wing known as Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AGAP) said it was responsible for sending explosive parcels to the United States last week, and for the crash of the UPS Boeing 747 in Dubai.
“Because the act was not attributed to us, we were able to wait until we could return and strike again,” AQAP said.
The statement from the dreaded terrorist group that appeared on websites on Friday, also promised fresh strikes on the United States.
“We say to Obama, we have struck your jets three times in one year and we will continue, God willing, to strike the interests of America and its allies.”
Saudi Arabia also bore the brunt of the group’s verbal fury. “Our devices were headed to Jewish Zionist temples but you intervened with your treachery to protect them,” it said.
Commenting on the AQAP modus operandi, Dr Christian Koch of the Gulf Research Center, said the group was good at exposing weak links in the system that could be manipulated for terrorist activities.
“This they have done in these incidents when it comes to cargo shipments. If it was a dry run, it is likely not to work as authorities have now been alerted to this method.’’