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US probing links of Shahzad with Yemeni cleric

world Updated: May 09, 2010 22:21 IST
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The United States is probing whether Times Square terror suspect Faisal Shahzad has any links with a Yemen-based terror outfit, a senior White House official said on Sunday.

"We know there are a number of people who have reached out to (Yemeni terror group head) al-Awlaki. He has been in contact with him (Shahzad)," Deputy National Security Advisor John Brennan told the CNN in an interview.

"We are looking at all information that is available to us. But al-Awlaki has been able to, through his sermons on the Internet and his rhetoric, to have this appeal to this group of individuals who have unfortunately been attracted to this very distorted and perverse message...It is just a murderous agenda," he said.

Brennan, who was in Yemen last week, said the US is working closely with Yemeni officials to combat terror threats in the region.

"I returned from Yemen last week. I've been out there about three times since I've come into this position. We are working with them. We are trying to build up their capacity so they can attack this threat that they have within their own borders," he said.

"Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula is targeting not just United States but also targeting Yemeni officials, Saudis and others. This is something that we are very concerned about it. But we are getting good cooperation from the Yemenis," the official said.


Brennan said terrorist groups are trying to exploit the Internet to propagate their message and the US is working on to tackle this.

"Internet now is the arena that terrorist groups are trying to exploit to propagate their message, to reach out, to identify individuals, recruit them, contact them," he said.