Press reports suggest that Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the Nigerian man accused of trying to bomb Northwest Airlines Flight 253 on Christmas Day, received the explosives from a bomb expert affiliated with Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), which claimed credit for the attack.
As the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) first reported, AQAP's emir, Nasir Al-Wahishi, wrote in favor of bombing U.S. airplanes several months ago in the organization's magazine Sada Al-Malahim.
Al-Wahishi's article entitled "War is Deception," which was posted on jihadist websites in late October, urged others to follow the example of Abu Al-Khayr, an AQAP suicide bomber who attempted to assassinate Saudi Deputy Interior Minister Muhammad bin Naif on August 27.
Al-Khayr, an Al Qaeda fugitive, had asked to surrender to Naif while the latter was receiving a group of Ramadan well-wishers. Instead Al-Khayr blew himself up using a bomb attached to his body. Naif was slightly wounded in the attack.
In the article, Al-Wahishi exhorted jihadists to make "explosives into a bomb that you can throw, set off with a timer, explode by remote, or make them into an explosives belt." Another option would be to put the explosives "in any digital recorder in which you hear the tunes of explosions, or in a photo album, a folder, or an envelope. Explode them on any taghut [an idol or false God], spy nest, Emir, minister or Crusader whenever you find them."
Al Wahishi added that fighters should detonate their explosives "in the airports of the Western Crusader countries that have taken part in the war against the Muslims, or in their planes, on their residential blocks, or in their metros, and so on. There is always a stratagem [to be found] if you think and rely on Allah, and have no fear of it being discovered after you have hidden it well."
According to MEMRI, while Al-Wahishi "appeared to be encouraging independent actions on the part of 'lone wolf' bombers, the article did include an offer to help with these initiatives." He offered to "make contact with anyone who wants to wage jihad with us, and we will guide him to a suitable means to kill the collaborators and the archons of unbelief."
In the article, the Al Qaeda boss emphasizes the importance of small explosives in making this vision a reality. AbdulMuttalab is believed to have had the explosive PETN sewn into his underwear. Al-Khayr, (who had been searched repeatedly at Saudi airports) apparently hid an explosive in his rectum.
MEMRI quotes Al-Wahishli touting the virtues of small explosives. "It requires no great effort on your part, nor large sums, to manufacture 10 grams, more or less of explosives. Do not search long for the materials, since they are in your mother's kitchen and are ready at hand," he wrote. "[A]nd with Allah's help, our brothers in the manufacturing department will produce videos explaining how anyone, using simple materials available to him, can [manufacture explosives] and blow up the enemies of Allah."