The suspected al-Qaida bomb maker and terrorist believed to have built the explosive intended to detonate inside a passenger plane destined for Detroit on Christmas Day 2009 may be dead, according to a recent United Nations Security Council report.
"Some Member States report that explosives expert Ibrahim al-Asiri may have been killed during the second half of 2017," the July report says. "Given al-Asiri's past role in plots against aviation, this would represent a serious blow to operational capability."
The report contains no details pertaining to how al-Asiri was killed or who might be responsible.
The 25-page report summarizes counter-terrorism activity across the globe.
Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, then 23, was one of 289 passengers on Northwest Airlines flight 253, a Dec. 25, 2009, flight from Amsterdam to Detroit. As the plane made its final approach to Detroit Metro Airport in Romulus, officials say Abdulmutallab attempted to ignite explosives concealed in his underwear.
The bomb malfunctioned, and while Abdulmutallab suffered burns, no one was seriously injured.
Abdulmutallab, a native of Nigeria, pleaded guilty to eight charges filed against him and was sentenced to four consecutive life sentences, plus 50 years in prison.
It was determined that al-Asiri played a role in construction of the bomb.
According to a CNN report, some counter-terrorism experts are skeptical al-Asiri is really dead, because al-Qaida hasn't issued any statements confirming al-Asiri's demise or praising him for martyrdom.
"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," Aimen Dean, a former spy for British intelligence inside al-Qaida, told CNN. "Every time a senior leader within al-Qaida or its affiliate in Yemen has been killed, they have been quick to put out a statement. It's seen as a religious necessity from a Shariah point of view."
This article was written by Gus Burns from MLive.com, Walker, Mich. and was legally licensed via the Tribune Content Agency through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.