Editor’s Note – Once again, a threat emanated from AQAP in Yemen. This is just one more in a long line of threats surrounding the London Olympics. The summer is heating up on all fronts, foreign and domestic.
Intelligence officials have uncovered a new al Qaeda plot to bomb a US passenger jet in the run-up to the London Olympics, according to a new report.
Al Qaeda’s Yemen-based terror cell, the same organization behind the 2009 attempted underwear bombing and a similar terror plot uncovered by a CIA informant less than two months ago, is believed to be behind this latest planned attack, according to the Sunday Times of London.
The plan is not specifically targeted to the Olympics, intelligence officials told the paper, and instead should be seen as another attempt by al Qaeda’s Yemen affiliate to blow up a US plane.
“There is terrorist plotting going on irrespective of the Olympics. The only thing that connects this to the Olympics is the fact that they are about to happen,” said a Whitehall official.
Al Qaeda has recruited a Norwegian convert who goes by the Islamic name of Muslim Abu Abdurrahman at a training camp in Yemen to carry out the plot, the paper reports.
Abdurrahman is thought to be in his thirties and a “clean skin,” meaning he has no previous criminal record. He converted in 2008, became radicalised and later travelled to Yemen, where he’s spent several months, to complete his training.
He was believed to have been in Azzan, al Qaeda’s longtime Yemen base, until last month when he moved to Dammaj, a town in north Yemen.
British intelligence officials last week declined to disclose the timing, target or any further details of the plot or how they discovered it to the London paper. They also would not comment to the Times on the measures they were taking to try to avert it.
Al Qaeda’s Yemen affiliate has attempted at least three other bombings on US planes since 2009, all of which were detected and averted.
On Christmas Day 2009, Nigerian national Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab tried to set off a bomb in his underwear on a Detroit-bound plane, but the detonator failed.
Abdulmutallab is now serving life in prison.
In 2010, al Qaeda sent two bombs hidden in printer cartridges on cargo planes bound for Chicago, but they were intercepted and defused in Dubai and the UK.
Just two months ago, a CIA informant, who had infiltrated al Qaeda’s inner circle in Yemen, volunteered to be a suicide bomber and brought the latest version of the terror cell’s underwear bomb to US authorities.