The attempted bombing of Northwest Flight 253 is now being linked as the handiwork of the extremist group Al Qaeda.
A statement that was allegedly posted on several sites but, like other statements from the group before it, could not be confirmed, indicates that it was the group that provided Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab with the technically advanced device that would have blown up the commercial airliner. The statement also reportedly said that the device failed because of an unspecified technical fault.
According to the group, the young man’s actions were in response to the military attacks in Yemen that were backed by United States intelligence and directed against suspected Al Qaeda cells in three locations in Yemen. The strikes resulted in the deaths of at least 35 militants and lead to the arrest of at least two dozen others. The attacks were carried out on December 17 and December 24; however, Abdulmutallab reportedly purchased his airline ticket on December 16. Abdulmutallab’s mother is said to be from Yemen.
Abdulmutallab was referred to by the Al Qaeda branch in the Arabian Peninsula as “Umar Farouk al-Nigiri,” apparently pointing to his Nigerian origin.
The statement from Al Qaeda also allegedly called for attacks against foreign embassies: “We call on all Muslims … to throw out all unbelievers from the Arabian peninsula by killing the crusaders who work in embassies or elsewhere.”
Of Abdulmutallab, the statement said that he “managed to penetrate all devices and modern advanced technology and security checkpoints in international airports … defying the large myth of American and international intelligence, and exposing how fragile they are, bringing their nose to the ground”.
With the emergence of the statement from Al Qaeda that claimed responsibility for the foiled attempt, U.S. and Yemeni authorities are said to be under pressure to “bring the country’s growing Al Qaeda network under control”.