SANA'A // Yemenis started to feel the effects of the latest terror plot believed to have originated in their country.
Security was tightened in the capital Sana'a. Police checkpoints were set up across the city and security and military vehicles patrolled the streets while security men stopped cars and searched them.
Yemen security closed the offices of UPS and FedEx on Hadda Street in Sana'a, the defence ministry website said. Security forces took some packages with them, eyewitnesses said.
While it is not clear whether the two parcels addressed to Chicago passed through those offices, employees, particularly at FedEx, were nervous.
"We have got instructions from the security that we should not comment at all," a man working at FedEx told The National. The UPS office was open but was not accepting packages for delivery. That frustrated would-be customers outside. The two firms have both suspended their operations out of Yemen.
"I want to send this package but they are not accepting it … this is really disappointing. Where should we go and how can we get our packages delivered?" said Ahmed Salem as he stood outside the UPS office.
An official at the UPS office said on the phone from behind a glass wall: "Our operation has been suspended and we can provide no further information until the ongoing investigation is finished."
Abdulghani al Iryani, an independent Yemeni analyst based in Sana'a, said the plot carried "the signature" of al Qa'eda in the Arabian Peninsula and could have far-reaching consequences.
"Al Qa'eda has proved its ability to cause heavy damage to Yemen's economy. This incident will cost the Yemeni businesses millions of US dollars," he said.
A Yemeni member of parliament from the ruling People's General Congress slammed a statement by the US president Barack Obama about Yemen's al Qa'eda affiliate.
"We are not a scapegoat to back up the American elections," Abdu Beshr was quoted by the independent NewsYemen website as he was speaking in parliament yesterday.
"If the US is serious about helping Yemen and not damaging it, it should turn to supporting the economic side, fight poverty and unemployment which will guarantee the eradication of terrorism and al Qa'eda ," Mr Beshr added.