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Al Qaeda fell for CIA bait in airplane plot

For al Qaeda’s affiliate in Yemen, the volunteer seemed ideal. He was willing to die in a suicide operation, and he had travel papers that would allow him to board a US-bound flight. It was a perfect dangle, in the parlance of spycraft, and al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula took the bait.

world Updated: May 10, 2012 23:30 IST

For al Qaeda’s affiliate in Yemen, the volunteer seemed ideal. He was willing to die in a suicide operation, and he had travel papers that would allow him to board a US-bound flight. It was a perfect dangle, in the parlance of spycraft, and al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula took the bait.

The group’s bombmaker fitted the man with a new version of a non-metallic “underwear bomb.” What he didn’t know was that the would-be martyr was an agent run by Saudi Arabia. And the man turned the device over to his Saudi handlers inside Yemen.

The Saudis flew the bomb out of the country on a noncommercial jet and handed it over to American officials in an unidentified third country, according to Mustafa Alani, director of security and defense studies at the Gulf Research Center in Jiddah, Saudi Arabia, who has close contacts with the kingdom’s intelligence agencies.

A US official confirmed tha aspects of his account. The informant was one of several operatives sent into Yemen over the past two years with Western passports and other documents designed to attract the attention of a terrorist group, intelligence officials said Wednesday.

(In exclusive partnership with The Washington Post. For more, log on to www.washingtonpost.com)

No role in Laden’s stay in Pak: Gilani
Insisting that Pakistan had no role in providing shelter to Osama bin Laden, Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani has attributed presence of the slain al Qaeda leader in his country to universal intelligence failure.

Gilani, who is on a five-day visit to Britain, denied in an interview to ‘The Guardian’ that Laden’s presence in Abbottabad was secretly known.Gilani said Pakistan was “part of the solution, not part of the problem” when it came to the issue of fighting terrorism.

PTI

First Published: May 10, 2012 23:24 IST