Less than two years ago, Yemeni and Saudi militants formed a new franchise called Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). The January 2009 merger of existing operations in Saudi Arabia and Yemen was acknowledged by Osama bin Laden's deputy Ayman al-Zawahiri. Since then, AQAP has hatched a series of attacks against the West and is suspected of being behind the recent UPS and FedEx cargo bombing attempts. Though foiled, the incidents underscore the Al Qaeda offshoot's potential threat beyond the Arabian Peninsula. Here are five of its leaders and key members.
US Sen. John McCain (R) of Arizona and his wife, Cindy McCain, address the media as they leave a polling station in Phoenix as Apollo, a dog owned by McCain's son Jimmy, licks the camera.
The Yemen bomb plot has brought fresh scrutiny to Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, of which Islamic cleric Anwar al-Awlaki is thought to be a key leader. Mr. Awlaki has not been officially linked to this latest attack, although Yemen – under international pressure to rein in AQAP – put him on trial in absentia today for plotting to kill foreigners. Mr. Awlaki, a Yemeni-American fluent in English who has been on the radar of US intelligence and military for several years, has a track record of promoting attacks against US targets. Here are some of the incidents to which he has been linked:
A key tip-off in the Yemen bomb plot reportedly came from Saudi national Jabr al-Faifi, an ex-Guantánamo detainee with links to Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.
American X-ray machines should spot PETN, the explosive used in the suspicious packages from Yemen, in any luggage. But cargo flights from abroad could be vulnerable.
Friday’s discovery of US-bound suspicious packages that originated in Yemen highlights the threat of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), a 2009 merger of Yemeni and Saudi militants. On Oct. 29, President Obama vowed to strengthen cooperation with Yemen to ‘destroy’ AQAP, but the country faces numerous challenges in achieving that goal. Here are five worth noting:
White House counterterrorism adviser John Brennan says authorities "have to presume" there might be more mail bombs like the ones pulled from planes in England and the United Arab Emirates.
Hanan Al Samawi's lawyer and fellow students say she has no links to Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), which is being blamed for Friday's thwarted attempt to mail bombs to Chicago synagogues.
Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula was behind the failed Christmas Day bomb attempt last year. US authorities believe the terrorist group is focusing on small-scale attacks against the West.