It was that close. KGS
French interior minister, Brice Hortefeux, says one of the two parcel bombs intercepted last week while en route from Yemen to the United States was defused just 17 minutes before it was due to go off.
The two parcels were sent via air freight but were intercepted in England and Dubai.
The bombs hidden in the cartridges of computer printers were wired to cell phones.
The sim cards had been removed and the phones could not receive calls, meaning the attackers intended the phones in-built alarms to detonate the bombs.
Mr Hortefeux has not revealed where this information has come from but France does have a military base in the United Arab Emirates where one of the bombs was discovered.
On Wednesday, France held a high-level security meeting to discuss the threats.
Mr Hortefeux has since said that the French government has agreed to step up airline screening of passengers and freight from some foreign countries.