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Al Qaeda in Arabian Peninsula declared terrorist organisation

January 20, 2010 13:41 IST

The United States has designated Yemen-based Al Qaeda in Arabian Peninsula as a terrorist organisation and slapped sanctions on its leaders. A franchisee of Al Qaeda, whose leaders are based in Af-Pak region, the Yemen-headquartered Al Qaeda in Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) has claimed responsibility of the foiled attempt to blow up a US plane on December 25 through a Nigerian national.

Two top leaders of the AQAP -- Nasir al-Wahishi and Said al-Shihri -– too have been designated as terrorists by the US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the State Department said on Tuesday. The US is also approaching the UN Security Council to slap sanctions of AQAP and its leaders. "Designations of foreign terrorist organisations play a critical role in our fight against terrorism and are an effective means of curtailing support for terrorist activities and pressuring groups to get out of the terrorism business," the Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs P J Crowley said.

"The consequences of these designations include a prohibition against the provision of material support or resources to Foreign terrorists organisations; the freezing of all property and interests in property of the organisation that are in the United States, or come within the United States or the control of US persons; and provide special immigration related options to law enforcement," Crowley said.

The State Department said AQAP is a Yemen-based terrorist organisation that has claimed responsibility for numerous terrorist acts against Saudi, Korean, Yemeni, and US targets since its inception in January 2009. Such instances include a March 2009 suicide bombing against South Korean tourists in Yemen, the August 2009 attempt to assassinate Saudi Prince Muhammad bin Nayif, and the December 25, 2009 failed attack on a Northwest Airlines flight from Amsterdam to Detroit, Michigan.

Nasir Al-Wahishi proclaimed himself as the leader of al-Qa'ida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) in January 2009. The press release in which al-Wahishi announced AQAP's re-emergence also noted that the group's Saudi militants had pledged allegiance to al-Wahishi as their new leader. Since then, Al-Wahishi has provided significant support for AQAP terrorist operations and has worked with AQAP operatives to facilitate attacks. As AQAP's leader, al-Wahishi is responsible for approving targets, recruiting new members, allocating resources to training and attack planning, and tasking others to carry out attacks.

Al-Shihri was publicly identified in January 2009 as the deputy leader of AQAP. As deputy of AQAP, al-Shihri helps carry out terrorist acts by generating targets, recruiting new members, assisting with training and attack planning, and tasking others in the preparation of attacks.

Lalit K Jha in Washington
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