The al-Qaeda master bombmaker said to be behind the thwarted plots to down U.S-bound jetliners was confirmed killed on Thursday in a United States counterterrorism operation in Yemen two years ago.
FBI via AP
This image provided by the FBI shows Ibrahim al-Asiri. Yemeni security officials say al-Qaida’s chief bomb maker behind the 2009 Christmas Day plot to down an airliner over Detroit was killed in a US drone strike earlier this year.
(MORE: Al Qaeda Bombmaker Hides Bombs Inside Dogs and Cats)
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“This will confirm for the first time that Ibrahim al-Asiri, a senior al-Qa’ida bomb maker and terrorist coordinator, was killed two years ago in a United States counter-terrorism operation in Yemen,” President Donald Trump said in a statement.
U.S. authorities worked for years to identify his elusive methods of hiding hard-to-detect bombs inside cameras, computers and even household pets.
Officials said he was responsible for the underwear bomb targeting a Detroit-bound jet in 2009, bombs hidden in printer cartridges set to explode over Chicago, even a bomb hidden in the body of a younger brother who was sent on a suicide mission against a Saudi official.
Obtained by ABC News
The underwear with the explosive worn by alleged Northwest 253 bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab is shown in this undated photo.
For over six years, authorities were on the hunt for al-Asiri, a Saudi citizen who studied chemistry in college. According to his parents, Al-Asiri was radicalized after the death of a brother.
(MORE: U.S. Hunts Devious Al Qaeda Bomb Maker’s Proteges)
The Trump statement said al-Asiri’s death “significantly handicapped al-Qa’ida in the Arabian Peninsula.”
“The United States will continue to hunt down terrorists like al-Asiri until they no longer pose a threat to our great Nation,” the president said.