One of America’s top military leaders says Yemen-based terrorists helped plan the Christmas Day, December 25, plot to blow up a U.S. bound airplane.
General David Petraeus told reporters in Baghdad Friday that the U.S. and Yemen have been sharing information about al-Qaida in the country, including activity that “resulted in the failed attack on the airliner.”
The head of the U.S. Central Command said Yemen has carried out “very significant” operations against al-Qaida, some of which prevented a series of suicide bombings.
General Petraeus said the United States is helping Yemen, but that its neighbors have also provided significant assistance.
Earlier this week, a group known as al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula claimed responsibility for the attempted bombing of a flight from Amsterdam to the U.S. city of Detroit, saying it was in retaliation for U.S. support of operations against al-Qaida militants in Yemen.
The suspect in the case, 23-year-old Nigerian Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, has told U.S. investigators he got training and explosives in Yemen.
Yemen has been intensifying its campaign against rebels and suspected al-Qaida terrorists, conducting a series of airstrikes and other raids that it says resulted in militant deaths and arrests.
On Wednesday, Yemeni forces clashed with al-Qaida militants in Yemen’s western Hudaydah province, wounding several suspected militants and capturing at least one.
A spokesman for Yemen’s ruling party, Tarek al-Shami, said the government will continue to coordinate with the U.S. to target al-Qaida throughout Yemen.
Yemen is the ancestral home of al-Qaida leader Osama Bin Laden.