US authorities see Nigerian bomber's connection with al Qaeda 'plausible'

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Washington, Dec. 27 (ANI): Even though the US authorities are yet to confirm the Yemen connection of the 23-year-old Nigerian man's plot to blow up a Detroit-bound airliner on Christmas Day, they see Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab's account that al Qaeda had supplied explosive powder to him in Yemen "highly plausible."

On Saturday, the suspect reportedly told US investigators that he had obtained explosive chemicals and a syringe that were sewn into his underwear from a bomb expert in Yemen associated with Al Qaeda, as part of a "mission to bring down a jet on US soil".

A law enforcement official briefed on the investigation said that the suspect's account was "plausible," as he saw "no reason to discount it," The New York Times reports.

Members of US Congress who were briefed on the matter also pointed to a Yemeni connection.

"The facts are still emerging, but there are strong suggestions of a Yemen-Al Qaeda connection and an intent to blow up the plane over U.S. airspace," said Jane Harman, a California Democrat who leads the House Homeland Security subcommittee on intelligence.

FBI sources said that said Abdulmutallab claimed a connection to the Qaeda affiliate, which operates largely in Yemen and Saudi Arabia, by a radical Yemeni cleric whom he contacted online.

Meanwhile, the Yemeni Embassy in Washington said: "We have yet to receive official information on the incident. If and when the would-be bomber's alleged link to Yemen is officially identified, authorities will take immediate action."

If the Yemeni link is proved, Abdulmutallab's travel to that country for terrorist instruction and explosives would highlight the emergence of that country as a major hub for Al Qaeda. (ANI)

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