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Al Qaeda's Mastermind Bomb Maker May be Dead

Ibrahim Al Asiri, who is known to be one of the most dangerous terrorist operatives of our times, may have been killed in Yemen last year, reported CNN on Thursday.

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Updated:August 17, 2018, 11:39 AM IST
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Al Qaeda's Mastermind Bomb Maker May be Dead
A combination picture of Saudi fugitive Ibrahim Hassan al-Asiri as seen from a Yemeni police handbook of the most wanted terror suspects (Image: Reuters)
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According to a UN Report, the mastermind bomb maker of Al qaeda, who was responsible for conspiring to blow up an airliner flying over Detroit on Christmas, may have been killed.

Ibrahim Al Asiri, who is known to be one of the most dangerous terrorist operatives of our times, may have been killed in Yemen last year, reported CNN on Thursday.

While there is no clear indication of the motive behind Al- Asiri’s murder or who was responsible for it, multiple US officials have told CNN that they yield weighing evidence that suggests Al- Asiri’s death.

"Since mid-2017, the organization has suffered losses of leadership and field commanders owing to extensive Yemeni and international counter-terrorist operations," said the report by the UN's Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Team.

"Some member states report that explosives expert Ibrahim al-Asiri... may have been killed during the second half of 2017. Given al-Asiri's past role in plots against aviation, this would represent a serious blow to operational capability."

On the other hand, counter- terrorism analysts are approaching the matter with significant skepticism, primarily because of the fact that Al Asiri’s group Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) is yet to release any official statement or eulogy that acknowledges his death.

Aimen Dean, a former spy for British intelligence inside Al Qaeda, told CNN that until such a eulogy is released, al-Asiri should be assumed to be alive.

"It would be extremely out of the ordinary for them not do this for a senior leader like al-Asiri, especially because his group in Yemen are putting out all sorts of statements all the time," Dean said.

"Every time a senior leader within Al Qaeda or its affiliate in Yemen has been killed, they have been quick to put out a statement."

Al-Asiri is widely credited with perfecting miniaturised bombs with little or no metal content that could make it past some airport security screening.

The son of a Saudi military officer, al-Asiri allegedly designed the so-called "underwear bomb" worn by Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, a Nigerian who tried to blow up an airliner as it was landing in Detroit on Christmas Day
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