Entries in Ibrahim al-Asiri (3)


US Concerned About Growing Al Qaeda Bomb Plots

Saudi Interior Ministry/Landov(NEW YORK) -- The U.S. government is highly concerned that 30-year-old Ibrahim al-Asiri, the man behind al Qaeda’s latest attempt to bring a bomb aboard a U.S.-bound plane, has been actively training a new wave of bombmakers and that these disciples, schooled by al Qaeda’s chief bombmaker, have fanned out to develop their own plots at times and locations of their choosing, ABC News has learned.

“Asiri is trying to train as many people as he can, that’s what has us concerned,” a high ranking official briefed on the new development told ABC News.  The new intelligence was the focus of high level briefings Tuesday in Washington.

An administration official confirmed ABC News' reporting, saying, “Asiri does appear to be training others so that, if he is taken off the battlefield, his expertise will not be lost.  He is not the only bomb maker in AQAP (Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula) to worry about.”

Officials are concerned that Asiri is working on other bomb designs, including bombs surgically implanted in terrorists, even picture frames and radios, as shown in an al Qaeda video from 2009.

The bomb in the latest foiled bomb plot that was delivered to intelligence agents by a double agent posing as a suicide bomber was described by officials as an upgrade to the underwear bomb used three years ago in a failed attempt to bring down a Detroit-bound jetliner.

Now being studied by the FBI, this new design is described as being made with a different chemical formula, with dual detonation systems to make it easier to set off.

Asiri, ABC News has learned, has stepped up training of bombmakers in the last year, in part because of increased operations targeting senior al Qaeda leadership in Yemen.  Radical cleric Anwar al-Awlaki was killed by a U.S. drone last fall.  Asiri is now apparently concerned that he will be captured or killed as well.

“It’s the spaghetti effect, they’re are hoping to throw enough on the wall that something sticks,” said a source who has been privy to high level briefings.

AQAP, al Qaeda’s Yemeni affiliate, is known for its ideological purity and for carefully screening its recruits.  Yet, in the latest plot, a double agent was able to infiltrate the organization, posing as a suicide bomber, and then delivering the bomb to intelligence agents instead of carrying the device onto a U.S.-bound plane. 

The Obama administration confirmed Monday that the bomb plot, timed to the first anniversary of Osama bin Laden’s death, had been disrupted last week.

Sources tell ABC News that Asiri wants as many bombmakers out there as possible.  His plan is that the more bombmakers there are, the more plots there will be and the more potential for success.  Another concern is that this generation of al Qaeda recruits “looks like the kid next door,” the source said, and would not show up on any terrorism watch list.

Asiri’s desire to see his deadly legacy continue even if he’s neutralized has prompted an urgent effort by U.S. intelligence officials to identify and locate Asiri’s disciples.

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Suspected Printer Bomber Is Fanatical Jihadist

Courtesy - ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- The man who authorities believe prepared the printer bombs and dispatched the so-called "underwear bomber" on Christmas Day in an attempt to blow up a plane over Detroit may be a recent entrant in the headlines, but he has had a trail of chilling attempts.

Ibrihim Asiri is a 28-year-old Saudi native, an expert in explosives and chemicals -- and a fanatical jihadist.

Just months before allegedly building the explosives that Christmas Day bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab wore on a U.S.-bound from Amsterdam, officials say he packed explosives into a body cavity of his own 23-year-old brother Abdullah, sending him on a suicide mission. The target was the head of the Saudi intelligence chief, Prince bin Nayef.

"They believe that such a martyrdom operation will be rewarded in the afterlife," said Bruce Riedel, a former CIA official and senior fellow at the Brookings Institution told ABC News in an interview Monday.

"A martyr who killed Prince Muhammad bin Nayef would have been up there in the pantheon of al Qaeda martyrs," Riedel said.

The younger Asiri posed as a repentant jihadist who had information for Prince bin Nayef, but when he entered the room, he tripped. The bomb exploded prematurely, blowing Asiri to bits ... but sparing the Prince.

Ibrahim Asiri is the son of a former Saudi soldier. The father told a Saudi newspaper his son was radicalized years ago, and fled the county for Yemen. In Yemen, Asiri trained in secret camps, working to perfect his bomb making, and managing to elude capture.

It was Prince bin Nayef -- still the Saudi intelligence chief -- who called U.S. authorities last week to tell them about the latest plot the Saudis had uncovered, providing the Americans with the packages' tracking numbers.

Yemen has been a safe haven and stronghold of al Qaeda since the late 1990s, Riedel told ABC News in an earlier interview this year.

It is a very attractive arena for al Qaeda, because it is one of the most lawless, ungoverned spaces in the entire world, he said. In addition, Osama Bin Laden's family is originally from the southwestern part of Yemen.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio 


US Hunts For Saudi Man Believed to Be Behind UPS, FedEx Bombs

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(CHICAGO) -- The full force of the U.S. is now targeted on Ibrahim al-Asiri, the young Saudi bombmaker believed to be behind the two bombs found Friday in UPS and FedEx packages bound from Yemen to Chicago.

Asiri, 28, also said to have been behind last year's attempted Christmas bombing of Northwest flight 253, continues to outmatch billions of dollars in airport security equipment and presents a clear and present danger.  "We need to find him," said John Brennan, President Obama's top antiterrorism advisor.

American officials now concede that Asiri's two latest bombs would have made it onto flights to the U.S. but for the Saudi intelligence service providing the parcel tracking numbers.  Said Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, "We were able to identify by where they were emanating from and package number, where they were located."

The bombs were cleverly disguised inside Hewlett-Packard printers being shipped along with clothes, books and a tourist souvenir.  Asiri packed the toner cartridge with explosives and added the circuit board of a cell phone--something that did not stand out in state of the art cargo screening.

While the packages were addressed to two synagogues in Chicago, U.S. officials now agree with an initial British estimate that the UPS and FedEx cargo planes that were to carry the parcels over the Atlantic were the real targets of the plot.

"At this point," said Brennan, "we, I think, would agree with the British that it looks as though they were designed to be detonated in flight."

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio