Yemen Crisis Situation Reports: Update 142

By Katherine Zimmerman  July 11, 2012
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Today’s suicide bombing in Sana’a, the second in two months, underscores the challenges faced by the country’s nascent government in restoring stability and security in Yemen. Last month, Yemeni security forces regained control of southern regions held by Ansar al Sharia, the insurgent arm of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). AQAP’s ability to conduct asymmetrical attacks has not been significantly reduced, however.

A suicide bomber attacked Yemen’s Police Academy in Sana’a, the capital. The attack occurred at 1:30pm local time in Sana’a when the police cadets were coming out of class. At least nine people were killed in the blast, according to Yemen’s Interior Ministry. Some sources are reporting that over 22 people were killed. In May, al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) targeted troops rehearsing a military parade in Sana’a, killing close to one hundred soldiers.

Yemeni security officials have been targeted by car bombs. In the past week, at least two assassination attempts have been made in Sana’a: a bomb planted in the car of Lt. Col. Mohammed al Qudami, an intelligence officer, killed him on July 2, and two days later, Saleh al Mustafa, the police chief in Mathbah neighborhood in Sana’a, exited his vehicle moments before a car bomb detonated. The attacks are similar to targeted assassinations carried out by AQAP in the past.

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Al-Qaeda will expose double agent’s identity, security chiefs fear

Security chiefs believe the identity of the double agent who foiled an al-Qaeda underwear bomb plot will be exposed by the terrorist group within weeks.

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It was hoped that the death of al-Awlaki, its chief recruiter and planner, would have proved a fatal blow to AQAP Photo: AP

By Sean Rayment, Philip Sherwell and Jason Lewis

8:30PM BST 12 May 2012

MI5 fear that militant Islamists will attempt to exact revenge on the British spy, who penetrated al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsular (AQAP), by publishing his photograph on the internet – a move designed to incite extremists to hunt him down.

Sources have described the British spy as “gold dust”, adding that he was one of just a handful of agents in the last ten years to have successfully penetrated one of the groups aligned to al-Qaeda’s concept of global Jihad.

AQAP now represents the “greatest operational threat” to Britain and America, according to senior Whitehall sources.

The group is known for its use of modern communication techniques including the publication of an English-language magazine, Inspire, which is distributed to supporters over the internet.

The agent, a British passport holder of Saudi heritage, volunteered to take part in a suicide mission but instead escaped with an underwear bomb designed to blow up a US airliner.

He is understood to have been recruited and trained by MI5’s G6 section – the ultra-secret part of the organisation responsible for agent handling – before being sent on his mission to penetrate the Yemeni-based terror group.

A former security official told The Sunday Telegraph that although the mission to penetrate AQAP was a success, the agent was now “burned” and would never be able to take part in covert operations again.

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Spy who uncovered underwear bomb plot is British national, sources say

Trouser Bomber at Home

Trouser Bomber at Home (Photo credit: Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com)

would-be suicide bomber was actually a British national, working through British intelligence to infiltrate the terror organization in Yemen.

By Robert Windrem
NBC News

The spy who helped Western intelligence agencies thwart a plot to bomb a U.S.-bound airliner was a British national of Middle Eastern origin, sources tell NBC News.

The sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, also say that British intelligence was “heavily involved” in recruiting the spy, who has not yet been identified publicly, and penetrating the plot by al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula to detonate a new, more sophisticated underwear bomb aboard a U.S. jetliner.

A senior U.S. counterterrorism official, also speaking on condition of anonymity, would say only that multiple friendly security services were involved in the operation. Saudi Arabia’s counterterrorism operation also were involved, other U.S. officials have told NBC News.

U.S. and British officials have long reported that AQAP has wanted to recruit Muslims with Western passports to carry out attacks like the one revealed this week. As an example, the officials cited AQAP’s recruitment of Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, who failed in the Christmas Day 2009 attempt to bring down Northwest Airlines Flight 253 over Detroit.

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Officials: More Al Qaeda Bombs Unaccounted For

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New ‘Underwear’ Bomb Plot Stopped

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By BRIAN ROSS (@brianross) , RICHARD ESPOSITO and RHONDA SCHWARTZ

May 7, 2012

U.S. and European officials say that even though an al Qaeda bomber was stopped before he could board a plane for the U.S., the threat is far from over — there are believed to be several other would-be bombers with similar non-metallic devices that could get through most airport security screening.

Federal officials confirmed today that the U.S., working with other intelligence agencies, recovered an explosive device that resembles other bombs manufactured by al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. They described it as a refinement of the so-called underwear bomb with which AQAP recruit Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab tried to take down Northwest flight 253 to Detroit on Christmas Day 2009.

The plot was timed to coincide with the first anniversary of Osama bin Laden’s death, but the bomber was apprehended before he could purchase plane tickets or choose a U.S.-bound flight. Continue reading

Al-Qaeda now ‘incapable of 9/11-scale attack’

GSPC Area of Operations & Pan-Sahel Initiative...

GSPC Area of Operations & Pan-Sahel Initiative nations (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Washington – Al-Qaeda‘s core organisation is likely incapable of carrying out another mass-casualty attack on the scale of 11 September 2001, US intelligence and counterterrorism officials said on Friday.
US government experts also believe that the likelihood of an attack using chemical, biological, atomic or radiological weapons over the next year was not high, said Robert Cardillo, deputy director of US National Intelligence.
Cardillo and other US officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, described these assessments on a conference call with journalists billed as an opportunity for government experts to voice their assessments of al-Qaeda’s potency a year after the killing of Osama bin Laden in a US commando raid.
Cardillo said the al-Qaeda “core” organisation that bin Laden created has suffered strategic setbacks due to the outbreak of “Arab Spring” protests and rebellions in Islamic countries, which have not spread great sympathy for al-Qaeda’s hardline and violent brand of Islam.

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Array of security challenges face Yemen’s new leader – Abd Rabbu Mansur al-Hadi

Publication: Terrorism Monitor Volume: 10 Issue: 5

March 8, 2012 06:11 PM Age: 24 hrs By: Jeb Boone

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Abd Rabbu Mansur al-Hadi, President of Yemen

In the opening days of his presidency, Yemen’s new leader Abd Rabbu Mansur al-Hadi has as his priorities the restructuring of the military and the expulsion of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and allied militant Islamist group Ansar al-Shari’a from the restive southern province of Abyan. However, Hadi’s largest shortcoming, his lack of tribal connections, will prove to be a nearly insurmountable obstacle as he attempts to secure the country after more than a year of tribal and political upheaval.

Hadi is a relative unknown in Yemen and has worked in the background behind former president Ali Abdullah Saleh for the entirety of his political career. The new president was born in a small village in the former state of South Yemen and rose steadily in the ranks of the military. After the 1994 Yemeni civil war, Hadi was appointed vice-president by Saleh in an attempt to reconcile with the south after its defeat in the war and subsequent unification with North Yemen. His close association with the Saleh regime caused him to lose a great deal of credibility with southern Yemenis while simultaneously maintaining little sway with northern Yemen’s powerful tribes.

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New Al-Qaida Video From Yemen On Spies

Al-Qaida´s Yemeni branch “Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula” (AQAP) has released the second part of its video series titled “Killing of the Spies”. The propaganda footage show a member of Yemeni´s security forces, captured by al-Qaida militants. He is accused of working for the CIA and Yemeni intelligence agency, and tells about Yemeni´s counter-terrorism war. Continue reading