Thursday, May 10, 2012

Double agent in bomb plot held U.K. passport

May 10, 2012
WASHINGTON, May 10 (UPI) -- The double agent who revealed the latest al-Qaida bomb plot was a Saudi-born man who held a British passport, CNN reported Thursday.
Details continued to emerge about the man who was sent to Yemen by the Saudi counterintelligence agency to infiltrate al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula. A source told the U.S. broadcaster the mole was born in Saudi Arabia but had been raised in Europe and had been sympathetic to Islamic fundamentalists.
CNN said his British passport made him attractive to al-Qaida because it allowed him to travel to the United States without obtaining a visa.
The source said after the man was accepted for training as a suicide bomber he contacted Saudi intelligence from Yemen and they informed U.S. intelligence about the planned operation to blow up a U.S.-bound jetliner.
The double agent and another informant were spirited out of Yemen along with the underwear-type explosive device being analyzed by U.S. intelligence and law enforcement agencies. CNN said the device used PETN, the same explosive that has been used in previous al-Qaida attempts to down airplanes.

Huge explosion rocks the Yemeni capital

By Fatik al-Rodaini
SANA'A, May 10, 2012- A huge explosion rocked on Thursday evening the Yemeni capital, Sana'a near the headquarters of American embassy and the National Security.
Witnesses said that black smoke was seen coming from nearby the area of national security Shawb district eastern of the capital, Sana'a.
Sporadic clashes were heard within the area. No more details were reported.
Several local news websites reported that al-Qaeda militants targeted the American embassy.
Government officials could not be immediately reached to confirm or deny the news.

Yemen airstrikes, raids kill 17 al-Qaida militants

May 10, 2012
Associated Press
SANAA, Yemen – Two airstrikes Thursday in south Yemen killed seven al-Qaida militants, including two top operatives, officials said. Yemeni soldiers, meanwhile, shelled a gathering of al-Qaida fighters elsewhere in the south, killing 10 militants.
The attacks could be another setback for al-Qaida, coming just days after details emerged about a Saudi mole within the network who reportedly provided information allowing the CIA to target a key leader of Yemen's terror branch.
Thursday's airstrikes hit in the town of Jaar and northeast of Zinjibar, the provincial capital of Abyan, Yemeni security officials said.
The United States has usually used drones to strike al-Qaida in Yemen. Yemeni officials said one of the raids was carried out by a drone but provided no details on the other.
There was no immediate word from Washington on whether it was behind the airstrikes. The two areas hit are part of large swaths of territory in the south that have been held by al-Qaida for a year.
The U.S. and Yemen have resumed cooperation in the fight against al-Qaida, which has taken advantage of Yemen's political turmoil to capture territory and plot attacks against American targets. Cooperation was suspended nearly a year ago during the popular uprising against the authoritarian regime of former leader Ali Abdullah Saleh.
The first, pre-dawn strike Thursday killed five militants, hitting a house on the western outskirts of Jaar where they were staying and completely leveling the structure.
One of those killed was a senior member of the terror network in charge of armament, known by his moniker al-Galadi, Yemeni officials said. The man is originally from another province, Marib, and his family arrived later in the day in Jaar for his burial, the officials said.nThe other four militants killed were not immediately identified.
The second airstrike hit in Shaqra, northeast of Zinjbar, killing two militants, the Yemeni officials said. They said one of those killed was al-Qaida's second-in-command for Lawder, a town further north that was controlled by the group last year until its residents drove the militants out. The militants have since been trying to stage a comeback in Lawder.
The Yemeni officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.
Later Thursday, Yemeni soldiers shelled a gathering of militants outside Zinjibar, killing 10 fighters, the Defense Ministry said.
Yemen has been a source of serious concern to Washington because it was the launching pad for two foiled al-Qaida attacks on U.S. territory that were potentially disastrous: the Christmas 2009 attempt to down an American airliner over Detroit with an underwear bomb and the sending of printer cartridges packed with explosives to Chicago-area synagogues in 2010.
The Associated Press this week disclosed that the CIA thwarted a plot by al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula to destroy a U.S.-bound airliner using a bomb described as an improvement on the 2009 underwear bomb because of the absence of metal which could have made it undetectable by conventional airport scanners.
The would-be bomber was actually a double-agent working for Saudi Arabia's security services. Saudi officials worked with the CIA to deliver the sophisticated new bomb directly to the U.S. government.
Before he was whisked to safety, the spy reportedly provided intelligence that helped the CIA kill al-Qaida's senior operations leader in Yemen, Fahd al-Quso, who died in a drone strike last weekend.

Missiles kill eight militants in Yemen – residents

May 10, 2012
ADEN (Reuters) - Missile strikes killed eight militants early on Thursday outside a town in southern Yemen which is a stronghold of al Qaeda-linked insurgents fighting government forces for more than a year, residents said.
The strikes near the town of Jaar appeared to have been launched from the sea and some senior militants were believed to be among the dead, the residents told Reuters.
Government officials could not be immediately reached.
The attack was the latest strike against militants in the coastal Abyan province on the Gulf of Aden who have exploited mass protests against former president Ali Abdullah Saleh's 33-year rule to seize large swathes of territory in the south.
Yemen's army, which split into two factions during the uprising that eventually unseated Saleh, has been battling to get the upper hand against the militants.
Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), the Yemen-based branch of the militant network, has plotted abortive overseas attacks and is a major concern for Washington, which is waging an assassination campaign against suspected members using drone and missile strikes.
U.S. officials revealed publicly on Monday that they thwarted an AQAP plot to arm a suicide bomber with a non-metallic device, an upgraded version of the "underwear bomb" carried onto a plane on Christmas Day 2009.
Yemen's fractured state and dysfunctional security apparatus provide al Qaeda's franchise in the poor Arab country with a suitable breeding ground for such bomb plots.
Meanwhile, tribal leaders in parts of Yemen where drone attacks aimed at AQAP have killed civilians say the strikes are turning more and more people against the government and the United States.