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Technical fault caused failure of US plane attack: Qaeda

Source: PTI
Last updated on: December 29, 2009 10:06 IST
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The Al Qaeda has claimed its role in the failed attempt to blow up a US-bound plane, carrying 278 passengers from Amsterdam to Detroit, on Christmas, American monitors have said.

Maryland-based SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors radical Islamist forums and websites, said the Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula made such a claim on December 28 in a communique issued to fundamentalist forums.

The Al Qaeda's Arabian franchise acknowledged that a "technical fault" had caused the failure of the plot against Friday's Northwest Airlines flight.

The statement, accompanied by a picture of a suspected would-be bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, said a "wealthy youth of Nigerian decent" responded to "unjust aggression on the Arabian Peninsula".

According to SITE, the Al Qaeda boasted that "martyrdom-seeking mujahid" broke all security barriers for his operation, dispelling the "great myth" of US intelligence and used explosives technology developed by the mujahideen in the Al Qaeda, the Arabian Peninsula's  "manufacturing department".

The monitoring organisation said the claim by Al Qaeda's Yemen and Saudi Arabia arm marked a "significant escalation in the group's activities".

The group also called upon Muslim soldiers in "enemy militaries" to repent for their service and to follow the example of suspected Fort Hood shooter, Nidal Malik Hasan, and kill all "Crusaders" by all means of murder available to them," SITE said.

According to the monitoring body, the Al Qaeda said, "From here, we say to the American people: since you support your leaders and you stand behind them in killing our women and our children, rejoice for what will do you harm.

"We have come to you with slaughter and we have prepared for you men who love death as you love life. With permission from Allah, we will come to you from where you do not expect.

"As you kill, you will be killed. Tomorrow is near," it warned.

Federal prosecutors have charged a Nigerian national Abdulmutallab, 23, with trying to blow up the plane.

Investigators have said that the Abdulmutallab had carried enough explosive to blow up a hole in the aircraft.

The explosive identified as PETN -- pentaerythritol tetranitrate -- was concealed in the underwear of the suspect, which if exploded would have blown a hole in the airplane, The Washington Post said.

Referring to federal sources, CNN also said the amount of explosive was sufficient to blow a hole in the aircraft.

The amount used was 80 grams of PETN, almost twice as much of the same explosive used by the convicted shoe bomber Richard C Reid, the Post said, adding investigation about the explosive were still on.

Fox News had earlier reported that Abdulmutallab's seat 19A was just above the fuel tank of the Northwest Airlines flight 253 and if there had been an explosion, it could have been accelerated by the fuel, damaging the wing and puncturing the skin, and bringing down the plane.

Claiming responsibility for the attempt, the Al Qaeda said it tested "new kind of explosives" in the attack, and hailed the fact that the explosives passed through security.

"There was a technical problem that resulted in a non-complete explosion," the message posted on a radical Islamic website said, according to Maryland-based SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors radical Islamist forums and websites.

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