WORLD IN BRIEF: Al-Qaida group takes blame for mail bombs

Al-Qaida group takes blame for mail bombs

WASHINGTON — A Yemen-based al-Qaida group is claiming responsibility for the international mail bomb plot uncovered late last week as well as the crash of a United Parcel Service cargo plane in September.

A week after authorities intercepted packages in Dubai and England that were bound for the U.S., Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula issued a message Friday saying it will continue to strike American and Western interests. They specifically said they would target civilian and cargo aircraft.

U.S. officials have said all week that there were strong indications the plot originated with AQAP, a terror group that has been gathering strength and increasingly triggering attacks on Western targets.

Crews remove bodies from Cuba crash

GUASIMAL, Cuba — Rescue workers on Friday pulled bodies from the charred wreckage of a state airliner that went down in rugged central Cuba, as desperate relatives gathered at the capital’s airport and called foreign embassies seeking information on their loved ones.

All 68 people aboard AeroCaribbean Flight 883 were killed when the turboprop plane went down Thursday afternoon in a remote area near the village of Guasimal in Sancti Spiritus province.

Twenty-eight foreigners were among the dead, including nine Argentines, seven Mexicans, and citizens of Germany, Holland, Spain, Italy and other European countries. One Japanese national was also on board.

Priest raising world’s largest Jesus statue

SWIEBODZIN, Poland — Step aside, Rio de Janeiro. This town is building a Jesus bigger than yours.

A Polish priest is on the verge of realizing his dream of erecting what he said will be the world’s largest statue of Jesus Christ in a small town in western Poland.

Attempts were made Friday to complete the statue — which will rise a couple yards higher than the iconic Christ the Redeemer monument in Rio de Janeiro. But heavy winds prevented cranes from lifting the torso, arms and head onto the lower half of the robed white figure.

Workers plan to try again just after sunrise today. Polish media said the project cost $1.45 million.

— From wire reports