Yemen: Alleged Terrorist Spent Several Weeks in the Country in 2009

Yemeni Foreign Ministry says 23-year-old Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab was granted a visa to study Arabic in Sanaa


Authorities in Yemen say the Nigerian man accused of trying to destroy a U.S. jetliner last week lived in Yemen during a four-month period earlier this year.

The Yemeni Foreign Ministry says 23-year-old Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab lived there between early August and early December.  The ministry says the Nigerian was granted a visa to study Arabic at an institute in the capital Sanaa.  Security officials say they approved the visa for Abdulmutallab because he was granted visas by several friendly countries, and still held a valid visa to the United States.

Abdulmutallab is charged with trying to detonate a bomb while flying aboard a Northwest Airlines jet traveling from Amsterdam to Detroit.  Authorities say he unsuccessfully tried to set off explosives attached to his body as the plane was approaching Detroit. 

A group known as al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula claimed responsibility on Monday for the failed attack.  In an Internet statement, the group says the attack was in retaliation for U.S. support for operations against the group in Yemen.  The claim could not be independently verified.

U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States will use all resources to find and hold accountable those responsible for the terrorist plot.

The president on Monday ordered a full review of air safety regulations and the terrorist watch-list system, in an effort to prevent future attacks.  He vowed to use every element of U.S. power "to disrupt, to dismantle and defeat" extremists in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia or elsewhere, who might want to attack the United States.

Abdulmutallab's name was listed in a U.S. government intelligence database, but he was not on the government's so-called "no-fly list,"  which would have banned him from flying on a U.S. airline.

His father, a prominent banker and former Nigerian government minister, had warned the U.S. embassy in Nigeria about his son's extremist views.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP.

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