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July 7th, 2011
Al-Qaeda's Batshit Crazy Bomb Maker Keeps Ideas Coming

The latest design from al Qaeda's top bomb maker is a "belly bomb" developed to beat airport security in Europe and the Middle East where full body scanners are not widely used, according to U.S. officials.

A bulletin from the Department of Homeland Security warned, "DHS has identified a potential threat from terrorists who may surgically implant explosives or explosive components in humans to conduct terrorist attacks."

According to U.S. officials, the terrorist would detonate the bomb with a chemical-filled syringe.

"We do not think there would be enough to bring down a jetliner, but it is more likely the kind of bomb to be used in an assassination attempt," said one person briefed on the warnings.

U.S. officials told ABC News the "belly bomb" is the invention of Ibrahim Asiri, a young Saudi native who packed explosives into the rectal cavity of his 23-year old brother Abdullah for a suicide missions targeting the head of Saudi intelligence, Prince bin Nayef.

That bomb exploded prematurely, the officials said, and the only casualty was Asiri's brother. Asiri is also credited with two other failed plots involving the bomb hidden in the underwear of a passenger on a Detroit-bound flight, and the bombs hidden in printers being shipped from Yemen to Chicago.

A U.S. official says the "belly bomb" threat information was recently obtained and led to the bulletin sent to security services overseas and the aviation security community.

The Hunt for Asiri

Ibrahim Asiri is the son of a former Saudi soldier. The father told a Saudi newspaper his son was radicalized years ago, and fled the county for Yemen. In Yemen, Asiri trained in secret camps, working to perfect his bomb making, and managing to elude capture.

In November last year U.S. intelligence made capturing Asiri a top priority after the failed printer bomb plot. Those bombs were cleverly disguised inside Hewlett-Packard printers which were being shipped along with clothes and books. Asiri packed the toner cartridge with explosives and added the circuit board of a cell phone--something that did not stand out in state of the art cargo screening.

"We need to find him," John Brennan, President Obama's top anti-terrorism advisor, said at the time.

Before that, U.S. officials say Asiri was believed to be behind the notorious "underwear bomb" worn by then 23-year-old Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab that failed to detonate on Northwest Airlines Flight 253 on Christmas Day in 2009. That bomb contained the same type of explosives as U.S. officials said "belly bombs" would, according to a report by Britain's The Mirror.

The U.S. Transportation Security Administration confirmed in a statement information about a new threat had been passed to U.S. air carriers and foreign partners in a statement.

"DHS/TSA recently briefed air carriers and foreign partners to provide greater insights into recent intelligence indicating the continued interest of terrorists to target aviation," the agency said. "Due to the significant advances in global aviation security in recent years, terrorist groups have repeatedly and publicly indicated interest in pursuing ways to further conceal explosives."




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