Ibrahim al-Asiri, the man believed responsible for the attempted bombing of two air cargo flights last week, sent his younger brother off on a suicide mission to kill a Saudi prince, according to an exclusive Investigative Project on Terrorism video analysis.
The video, which is being shown here for the first time outside Arabic media, is the first image of Ibrahim al-Asiri, who is considered by law enforcement and intelligence officials to be the main bomb maker for al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula. That group is responsible for a series of terrorist attacks in recent months.
In the video made by al-Qaida operatives and shown on YouTube, Ibrahim al-Asiri embraced his younger brother Abdullah as he prepared to leave Yemen and try to kill Saudi Prince Muhammad bin Nayef, Saudi Arabia's chief counter terrorism official.
The video, which was a tribute to Abdullah al-Asiri and two other terrorists, says the three went to kill Nayef because members of the Saudi royal family "are another face of the enemy. They are part of the Crusader plan against the lands of the Muslims. There is no difference between the Karzai of Kabul and the Karzai of Riyadh; they are all equally lackeys."
"The one who prepared him and readied him is his brother Ibrahim," the voice on the video says about Abdullah al-Asiri.
Ibrahim al-Asiri's face is blurred in the brief part of the video in which he is seen embracing his brother and sending him off for the assassination attempt. In most videos of suicide bombers, only the faces of the bombers are shown; the rest are obscured, often because they are wanted by counter terrorism authorities.
Reports said that al-Asiri had pretended to be an Islamic militant who was planning to surrender to Nayef when they met on Aug. 28, 2009. Instead, al-Asiri detonated a bomb that contained PETN, the high-level explosive that was also found in the two bombs detected last week in Great Britain and Dubai and intended for Jewish houses of worship in Chicago.
PETN was also found in the bomb sewn into the underwear of Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the Nigerian student who traveled to Yemen before flying from the Netherlands to Detroit. Abdulmutallab attempted to detonate the bomb as it landed in Detroit last Christmas.
Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula is led by radical cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, a U.S. citizen who has inspired a series of terrorist acts over the last two years.
The video goes into great detail about the attempts to kill Nayef. Before the Aug. 28, 2009 attack, al-Qaida operatives fired a mortar at Nayef's aircraft as it tried to land at the airport in Sana, Yemen.
Mohammed al-Ghazali, the attack coordinator, said in the video he had flown to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, to meet Nayef and tell him he would bring other radicals to surrender to Nayef.
Abdullah al-Asiri, the video says, was chosen to be a suicide bomber after he had been imprisoned for trying to enter Iraq to fight U.S. troops there. His brother, Ibrahim, met him in prison and asked him if "Jihad in the way of God and defending the lands of the Muslims is a sin?"
On the last video, a cell phone conversation is played in which Abdullah al-Asiri is heard speaking from Nayef's palace. He reports that "I saw with the prince" and "everything is as good as can be wished." The person speaking to Abdullah al-Asiri says, "Take the prince with you."
Nayef is heard greeting Abdullah al-Asiri on the tape, and Al-Asiri responds. Fifteen seconds later, an explosion is heard followed by screams.
Abdullah al-Asiri was killed in the assassination attempt, while Nayef was slightly wounded. Reports said al-Asiri's body absorbed most of the force of the explosion, which was why Nayef was not more seriously wounded.