Published: Oct 29, 2010 10:36 PM EDT
Updated: Oct 29, 2010 1:13 PM EDT

WASHINGTON (AP) - Authorities in Dubai intercepted an explosive device bound for a Chicago-area Jewish institution aboard a cargo jet, officials disclosed Friday, triggering a worldwide alert and fears that al-Qaida was attempting to carry out fresh terror attacks.

A second package - like the first, shipped from Yemen - was discovered aboard a plane in England. It, too, was addressed to a Jewish organization in the Chicago area, although there was no immediate confirmation about its contents.

Several other cargo planes at airports along the Eastern Seaboard of the United States also were searched, and officials said no explosives were found.

President Barack Obama arranged to make a statement about the developments at the White House. Aides said he had been informed about a "potential terrorist threat."

"The president directed U.S. intelligence and law enforcement agencies and the Department of Homeland Security to take steps to ensure the safety and security of the American people, and to determine whether these threats are a part of any additional terrorist plotting," the White House said in a statement.