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He is al-Qaeda’s most valued bomb maker and the mastermind behind explosive devices only an “evil genius” could dream up.That’s how a U.S. official has to referred to 30-year old Ibrahim Hassan al-Asiri from Yemen’s al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, or AQAP.
As a former chemistry student and the terror organisation’s star bomb maker today, he has been behind three high-profile attempts to attack the U.S. — the shoe bomber, the underwear bomber, and printer cartridge explosives found on planes in 2010.
Relentless, he’s crafting more inventive ways to thwart U.S. national security.
Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y), the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, told the Washington Post:
“Asiri is an evil genius. He is constantly expanding, he is constantly adjusting.”
He has managed to stay a step ahead of the U.S., particularly after escaping death after an American air strike last September which officials initially believed killed him.
Weeks later, he resurfaced. And he is now suspected of devising the recent bomb plot foiled by the CIA — an attack intended to coincide with the anniversary of Osama bin Laden’s death. The U.S. is studying the explosive and it’s been revealed to be modified version of the infamous underwear bomb.
Asiri’s signature explosive material appears to a mostly undetectable chemical called PETN (pentaerythritol tetranitrate), with which he first experimented on his younger brother, Abdullah.
In a sickening plot, a suicide bomb attached to Abdullah was detonated inside Saudi Arabia’s intelligence services after he pretended to be a local rebel wishing to surrender. The target was Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, the country’s top counter-terrorism official, reported the Associated Press.
Asiri’s PETN bomb — which killed Abdullah — only injured the high-ranking prince, yet AQAP grew more confident that it could take out high-profile targets in the future.
Because the bomb wasn’t detected, U.S. officials initially thought it had been surgically implanted inside Abdullah’s body — the peak of barbarity, according to American researcher Dr. Robert J. Bunker who has investigated the potential use of body cavity bombs.
Bunker notes that terrorists have previously placed homemade explosives inside corpses, but a worrying forecast is that al-Qaeda and its affiliates will start using live humans to transport bombs.
A missile launched from a CIA drone earlier this year killed a targeted Yemeni doctor “who had devised medical procedures which could be used to surgically plant explosive devices in humans,” reported Reuters.
But this is only the beginning. Three U.S. officials told Reuters that counter-terrorism agencies report, “Other doctors in Yemen are prepared to surgically load bombs into the organs of militants” — demonstrating al-Qaeda’s total obsession with finding new ways of transporting bombs directly into the U.S.