FBI Links Top al-Qaeda Bombmaker to Two US Plots
Fingerprint, forensics link Ibrahim al-Asiri to underwear bomber, cargo bombs
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted May 24, 2011 8:06 AM CDT
This undated image released Sunday Oct. 31, 2010, by Yemen's Interior Ministry, is a combination of two photos which they say both show bomb maker suspect Ibrahim Hassan al-Asiri.   (AP Photo/Yemen Interior Ministry)

(Newser) – The FBI has now definitively linked top al-Qaeda bombmaker Ibrahim al-Asiri to a trio of explosives used in two recent attempts to attack the US, via a fingerprint and forensic evidence. Al-Asiri, who works in Yemen with al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, was already suspected of being involved with the Christmas Day “underwear bomber” in 2009; investigators have pulled one of his fingerprints off that bomb. They also determined that the explosives used in the underwear bomb are chemically identical to those hidden inside two printers shipped from Yemen last year; al-Asiri had also been suspected in that plot.

It's not clear who provided the FBI with the original fingerprint used to match the one lifted from the underwear bomb. But it probably came from Saudi Arabia, where al-Asiri and his brother were arrested for their involvement in an al-Qaeda-affiliated terrorist cell. They were released and later fled to Yemen in 2006. The AP notes that now that al-Qaeda’s core Pakistan branch needs a new leader, the Yemeni branch—which had already surpassed the Pakistan branch in terms of fundraising and propaganda—could become even more important. Nasser al-Wahishi, the group’s leader, promised “more intense and harmful” violence in a eulogy to bin Laden earlier this month.
 

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