Yemen unaware of alleged plane bomb plot
Sanaa, May 8, 2012
Yemen had no knowledge of what the US said was a plot by a Yemen-based wing of Al Qaeda to put a bomb on an airliner bound for a Western country, a Yemeni official said on Tuesday.
"We have no information on the attempted bombing the US authorities have spoken of," said the official in the president's office, who asked not to be named.
US officials said on Monday that an "underwear bomb", similar to one used in a failed attack on a US-bound plane in 2009, had been seized in the Middle East in the last 10 days.
The officials said they believed the Yemen-based Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) had planned to use a suicide bomber to detonate the device, without saying where it had been seized.
One US official said the bomb appeared to be similar to the work of fugitive Saudi militant Ibrahim Hassan Al-Asiri, who US intelligence officials think is AQAP's main bomb-maker.
AQAP is the principal focus of US interest in Yemen.
Washington backed a power transfer deal under which former President Ali Abdullah Saleh, once seen as a vital partner in US counter-terrorism efforts, left office in February.
Saleh gave way to his deputy Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi after more than a year of mass protests against his 33-year rule that split the military and ignited bouts of open warfare between pro- and anti-Saleh factions as well as tribal militias.
An Al Qaeda-linked group, Ansar Al-Sharia, seized swathes of southern territory during the uprising against Saleh, whose foes accused him at times of colluding with the militants while underlining to Washington that only he could handle them. - Reuters