Airline Bombing Suspect Spent Months in Yemen in 2009
VOA News 29 December 2009
Authorities in Yemen say the Nigerian man accused of trying to destroy a U.S. jetliner last week lived in Yemen for months, and was in the country as recently as this month.
The Yemeni Foreign Ministry says 23-year-old Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab was in Yemen from early August to early December. The ministry says he was granted a visa to study Arabic at an institute in the capital, Sanaa, where he had previously studied.
Abdulmutallab is charged with trying to destroy a Northwest Airlines jet traveling on Christmas Day from Amsterdam to Detroit. Authorities say he unsuccessfully tried to set off explosives hidden in his underwear as the plane was about to land in Detroit.
The suspect says he was trained by al-Qaida operatives in Yemen.
A group known as al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula claimed responsibility on Monday for the failed attack, saying it was in retaliation for U.S. support for operations against the group in Yemen. The claim could not be independently verified.
U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States will use all resources to find and hold accountable those responsible.
The president has ordered a full review of air safety regulations and the terrorist watch-list system, in an effort to prevent future attacks. Monday, Mr. Obama vowed to use every element of U.S. power "to disrupt, to dismantle and defeat" extremists in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia or elsewhere who might want to attack the United States.
Abdulmutallab's name was listed in a U.S. government intelligence database, but he was not on the government's "no-fly list," which would have banned him from flying into the United States.
His father Alhaji Umar Mutallab, a prominent banker and former Nigerian government minister, had warned the U.S. embassy in Nigeria about his son's extremist views.
Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.
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