‘Al-Qaeda in the Arab Peninsula’ (AQAP) has claimed responsibility for the failed attack on Delta/Northwest Airlines flight 253. It would be the first time that ‘AQAP’ has tempted to strike targets outside of its immediate area of operations: Saudi Arabia and Yemen. Whether al-Qaeda itself (also called ‘core Al Qaeda’) is involved remains to be seen. ‘Core al-Qaeda’ usually doesn’t say it is responsible for terrorist attacks, or only does so after a long period of time.
The US terrorism research organisation IntelCenter has released a translation of part of the claim made in Arabic by AQAP. It reads as follows:
“Our brother the mujahid the martyr Omar al-Farouq* has conducted a unique operation on board of an American plane on route from Amsterdam to Detriot, during their “Christmas” celebrations on Friday 25 December 2009 AD, with courage he was able to breach all the modern and sophisticated technologies and checkpoints at the airports around the world, putting his faith in God fearing no death, his act has dealt a huge blow to the myth of American and global intelligence services and showed how fragile its structures are. … It is the unity of doctrine and Islamic fraternity, which prompted a rich young man of Nigerian background Omar Al Farouq to directly retaliate, with the direct coordination of the mujahideen in the peninsula against the unjust American aggression on the Arabian Peninsula, Which fired its fragmentation bombs and Cruise missiles from its warships in the occupied gulf of Aden.”
“Our brothers in the manufacturing department, have been able to construct, with God’s help, advanced explosives packages, that has been tested against detection systems. Our brother with the help of God was able to reach his goal, but due to God’s wisdom, a technical error prevented the explosion. We shall continue the path, God willing, till we reach our goal and religion in its entirety shall be to God.”
“We call upon every Muslim who cares about his religion and doctrine to assist in expelling the apostasies from the Arabian Peninsula, by killing every crusader who works at their embassies or other places, declare it an all out war against every crusader on Mohammad’s peninsula on land, air and sea. We call upon every soldier in the Crusader’s army and the collaborating governments to repent to God, and follow our Mujahid brother Nidal Hassan’s suit, and kill every crusader with any possible mean in order to support God’s religion and establish his will on earth.”
According to IntelCenter, “the participation of AQAP in attacks outside the Yemen/Saudi Arabia area of operation is a significant escalation in the group’s activities and is part of a larger series of operational changes since the merging of the regional al-Qaeda arms in Saudi Arabia and Yemen into al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula”.
* The official name of the Nigerian man who tried to blow up Flight 253 is Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab.