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Tuesday
Nov022010

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.

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