The U.S. State Department has designated Ibrahim Tali al-Asiri as a terrorist. He is an al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, or AQAP, operative and bomb maker. This designation will help stem the flow of finances to al-Asiri by blocking all property subject to U.S. jurisdiction in which al-Asiri has an interest and prohibiting all transactions by U.S. persons with al-Asiri. AQAP has previously been designated by the United States as a foreign terrorist organization.
Al-Asiri is suspected of packing explosives into the underwear of a Nigerian who tried to blow up a Michigan-bound airliner on December 25th, 2009, and making bombs found on U.S. cargo planes last year.
Al-Asiri is currently wanted by the Saudi government for his role in the attempted assassination of Saudi Prince Muhammad bin Nayef bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud, the Deputy Minister of the Interior. Al-Asiri designed and assembled the bomb used by his brother, Abdullah Hassan al-Asiri in the February 2009 attack. Abdullah lured the Saudi prince by claiming he wished to surrender under an amnesty program and reconcile with the government. But Abdullah only succeeded in killing himself. The novelty and sophistication of the plot is illustrative of the threat posed by al-Asiri. He is credited with designing the remotely detonated device, which contained one pound of explosives concealed inside his brother's body.
Before joining AQAP, al-Asiri was part of an al-Qaida affiliated terrorist cell in Saudi Arabia and was involved in planned bombings of oil facilities in the kingdom.
Al Qaida has long been a presence in the Arabian Peninsula, dating back to at least the early 1990s. Over the last five years, these terrorists have carried out multiple attacks against Yeminis, Americans, and citizens of other countries. In the last two years, this Al Qaida franchise has carried out a string of attacks, including an attack on the U.S. Embassy in September 2008, kidnapping of several groups of foreign tourists, and attempts to terrorize Yemen's own security services.
The actions taken against Al-Asiri demonstrate international resolve in eliminating AQAP's ability to execute violent attacks and to disrupt, dismantle, and defeat its networks. This designation represents just one phase of the U.S. government's response to the threat posed by al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula.