Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) describes in a new statement how it conducted extensive research and trials into thwarting airport screening in both the U.S. and Europe ahead of the Christmas Day bomb plot against a Detroit-bound jet.
The group boasts of the planning that went into developing the "anti-detectable device" carried in the undergarments of Nigerian suspect Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab in the latest issue of its online magazine, Sada al-Malahem, which was dedicated entirely to the attack.
The article claims the group carefully surveyed security checks at various international airports and concluded that they needed a device that could beat airport X-Ray scanners, metal detection systems, and sniffer dogs.
It explained that the group took a long time to study the various X-Ray systems operational at airports and detected “weak points” in each one. As for metal detection, the answer was to come up with a non-metal device. The article admitted that sneaking explosives past sniffer dogs presented a greater challenge, but one it also claims to have met by enclosing substances in sealed containers.
Non of AQAP's claims are verifiable, but the group's real intent in publically trumpeting its research and development efforts is clear: they're telling the West that they continue to adapt to security measures and that they are not giving up.
Despite the fact that Abdulmutallab failed to detonate his bomb and was arrested upon landing, AQAP has labeled the operation “successful by all standards.”
Their intent was to The group argued that it has proved that, despite the billions of dollars spent on airport security over the past 8 years, it is still capable of defeating such security measures.
“We issued our directives to martyrdom seeker brother Umar to blow up the plane over the city; so that it would hit the homes of the American people," claims the Internet statement. “It’s been designed to avoid detection, while having a destructive force powerful enough to blow up an entire aircraft."
The plane was over a populated area of the U.S. when Abdulmutallab attempted to detonate his device, and the device did avoid detection at multiple airports. In that regard, it was a success.
Soon after the attack, AQAP issued its claim of responsibility, and vowed to "keep trying" until meeting with success.
AQAP sought to show their adaptability in military operations by highlighting the different techniques used in the Detroit bomb attempt and an attempt last August to assassinate Prince Mohammed Bin Nayef in Jeddah with a device smuggled into a royal palace inside a militant's rectum.
The group pointed out that that the bomber who targeted Bin Nayef did not have a syringe to detonate his device, arguing that different techniques are tailored to suit different situations and different attacks.
“This diversity in the execution and the detonation process are very important because they give us the flexibility to get passed security checks,” the group explained, “determining which device to use varies according to the place where the explosion is to take place and the desired outcome.”
Finally the group launched an appeal, inviting chemistry scientists to cooperate with the Mujahideen, in order to help them “complete some of their theoretical theories.” In other words, to help them figure out how to make the successfully-smuggled bombs actually explode when they're supposed to, and inflict the intended damage.
Meanwhile, the Washington Times reported Monday that U.S. authorities have launched a global manhunt for English-speaking terrorists trained in Yemen who are planning terror attacks on the United States.
The manhunt was prompted, according to the Times report, by intelligence garnered from Abdulmutallab.