In Parcel Bomb Plot, 2 Dark Inside Jokes

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WASHINGTON — The would-be terrorists in Yemen made a sardonic choice when they sent two package bombs to Chicago last week: they addressed the parcels to two historical figures notorious in Middle Eastern lore for the persecution of Muslims.

One of the addressees, Diego Deza, was known for his cruelty in performing his duties as Grand Inquisitor during the Spanish Inquisition, succeeding the infamous Tomás de Torquemada in the job. Reynald Krak, to whom the second package was addressed, is another name for Reynald of Châtillon — a French knight of the Second Crusade who wantonly killed Muslim pilgrims and was later beheaded by Saladin, the Kurdish warrior famous for his defeat of Western invaders in the 12th century.

That the packages were addressed to two people who have been dead for hundreds of years is one reason investigators on three continents have concluded that the parcel bombs — printer cartridges packed with explosives sent by FedEx and United Parcel Service — were probably designed to blow up before they reached Chicago.

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