WASHINGTON - THE Yemen branch of Al-Qaeda on Friday claimed responsibility for a plot to send parcel bombs to the United States and for the September downing of a UPS cargo plane, the monitoring website SITE said.

The Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) group posted the message on 'jihadist' web forums, and called for more explosive parcels to 'enlarge the circle of its application to include civilian aircraft in the West as well as cargo aircraft,' SITE said.

Last week, two packages addressed to synagogues in Chicago containing the hard-to-detect explosive PETN hidden in printer ink cartridges were uncovered in Dubai and Britain's East Midlands Airport, sparking a global scare.

Washington said it believed the parcel bombs, found to have originated in Yeman, were the work of Saudi militant Ibrahim Hassan al-Asiri, believed to be a senior member of AQAP.

French officials said Thursday that British anti-terror police had disarmed one of the bombs just 17 minutes before it was due to detonate. AQAP also claimed it had planted a bomb on jumbo jet belonging to US delivery giant UPS near Dubai airport of September 9, and that authorities had kept the cause of the crash quiet.

'We downed the plane belonging to the American UPS company, but because the media of the enemy did not attribute responsibility for this work to us we kept quiet about the operation until the time came that we hit again,' it said. Weeks after the UPS crash, the group placed two additional bombs on flights operated by UPS and FedEx, according to AQAP quoted by SITE.

Al-Qaeda claims parcel plot