Al-Qaeda master bomb maker Ibrahim al-Asiri ‘killed in Yemen strike’

Home / Al-Qaeda master bomb maker Ibrahim al-Asiri ‘killed in Yemen strike’

A US drone strike in Yemen has killed a chief al-Qaeda bomb maker who once tried to down a plane over an American city on Christmas Day, US and Yemeni officials have said.

The Saudi-born Ibrahim al-Asiri was the lead bomb maker for al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), which has become the organisation’s most lethal franchise. He had famously dispatched his own brother, Abdullah, in a failed attempt to kill Saudi Arabia’s interior minister in 2009 with explosives hidden in his rectum.

Asiri is believed to have manufactured the the bomb used by Umar Farouq Abdelmuttalib in an attempt to blow up an airliner over Detroit in 2009. The explosives, sewn into Abdelmuttalib’s underwear, succeeded only in scorching the attacker, who has since been sentenced to life in prison.

Three Yemeni officials officials including an al-Qaeda-linked source confirmed Asiri’s death. A Yemeni tribal leader told AP he was killed in a by a missile fired from a drone as he stood next to his car. 

US officials say they are confident that Asiri, who had been mistakenly declared dead in the past, had been killed this time. A United Nations report last week also said he had probably been killed in 2017.

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Asiri was "probably the most sophisticated terrorist bomb maker on the planet. Incredibly creative, incredibly innovative," CBS quoted former CIA deputy chief Michael Morell as saying.

Asiri is believed to have been behind the attempt to place explosive laden printer cartridges on US-bound cargo planes in 2010. While his death may be a set back to Al-Qaeda, Asiri woud have passed on his bombing making expertise to aides. 

Many of AQAP’s leaders and mid level commanders have been killed in US drone strikes in Yemen. 

In a video released this week the group, which has retreated from several cities and towns it held in Yemen to UAE and Saudi forces, threatened further attacks on the United States. 

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