Washington, Nov 1 (ANI): US counter terrorism officials have targeted a top bomb maker of al Qaeda's Yemeni branch, identifying him as the central figure in at least three new potential terror threats.
Ibrahim Hassan Tali al-Asiri, the bomb maker, poses more danger to the S than the group's prominent propagandist Anwar al-Awlaki, who was killed in the US airstrike last month.
According to the Wall Street Journal, as Awlaki is now dead, U.S. counterterrorism officials have turned their focus to other imminent threats such as Asiri and Nasir al Wahishi, Osama bin Laden's former secretary in Afghanistan, now the head of Al Qaeda's Yemen branch.
A senior counterterrorism official investigating Asiri said he has been scouting out US airline and other domestic targets on the Internet, researching the security measures taken and devising ways to circumvent them.
The official said Asiri has been working to develop mechanisms to stealthily deploy explosives, as well as chemical and biological weapons.
"He is a greater operational threat than al-Awlaki. He's pretty imaginative," the paper quoted the official, as saying.
According to US officials, Asiri has been involved in all of the group's major plots in the past two years, including an August 2009 attempt to kill a Saudi prince, the botched 2009 Christmas Day airliner bombing, and a foiled 2010 cargo plane plot.
None of the explosives plots hit their targets, but US counterterrorism officials believe Asiri remains a top concern because the bombs he has designed have been successful at evading detection.
"All three proved that his particular brand of explosives could foil the countermeasures currently in place," said Richard Barrett, coordinator of the United Nations' al Qaeda Taliban Monitoring Team.
He added that officials believe al Qaeda in Yemen has offered these bomb-making techniques to other terrorist groups. (ANI)