According to IntelCenter, the ever-present US government contractor at the forefront of most dubious al-Qaeda claims, al-Qaeda has claimed responsibility for the failed Detroit lap bomber attack.
The statement, ostensibly from al-Qaeda by way of internet forums, praises Abdulmutallab as a “brother” and claimed the “heroic attack” was a test of a new kind of explosives. It ended with a threat of more attacks.
It is the second claim tying Abdulmutallab to al-Qaeda, the other coming from statements the bomber made himself, again reported by IntelCenter. Law enforcement has been unable to confirm any ties, and Janet Napolitano says there was no evidence the attack was part of a larger plot.
Tying Abdulmutallab to al-Qaeda would be extremely valuable for those looking to use the failed bombing as an excuse to go to war in Yemen. Yet questions remain.
The explosives used in the attack, far from a “new” kind, were PETN, the same explosive the group used in a failed 2007 assassination attempt on Saudi Arabia’s prince. The delivery mechanism was apparently novel, but also a dreadful failure, as the attack only managed to burn Abdulmutallab’s own lap.
It may well benefit al-Qaeda to claim credit for the attack, true or not, as a new “threat” posed by the group. Yet it seems like al-Qaeda would have tipped its hand if this “test” was really the first in a string of copy-cat attacks, and since the bomb wasn’t able to damage anything apart from the bomber it is unclear what value the tactic even has.