"WASHINGTON (AP) — The CIA thwarted an ambitious plot by al-Qaida's affiliate in Yemen to destroy a U.S.-bound airliner using a bomb with a sophisticated new design around the one-year anniversary of the killing of Osama bin Laden, U.S. officials said Monday.
The plot involved an upgrade of the underwear bomb that failed to detonate aboard a jetliner over Detroit on Christmas 2009. This new bomb was also designed to be used in a passenger's underwear, but this time al-Qaida developed a more refined detonation system, U.S. officials said.
The FBI is examining the latest bomb to see whether it could have passed through airport security and brought down an airplane, officials said. They said the device did not contain metal, meaning it probably could have passed through an airport metal detector. But it was not clear whether new body scanners used in many airports would have detected it.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., who heads the Senate Intelligence Committee, told reporters Monday that she had been briefed about an "undetectable" device that was "going to be on a U.S.-bound airliner."
There were no immediate plans to change security procedures at U.S. airports.
The would-be suicide bomber, based in Yemen, had not yet picked a target or bought a plane ticket when the CIA stepped in and seized the bomb, officials said. It's not immediately clear what happened to the alleged bomber.
White House spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said President Barack Obama learned about the plot in April and was assured the device posed no threat to the public.
"The president thanks all intelligence and counterterrorism professionals involved for their outstanding work and for serving with the extraordinary skill and commitment that their enormous responsibilities demand," Hayden said.
The operation unfolded even as the White House and Department of Homeland Security assured the American public that they knew of no al-Qaida plots against the U.S. around the anniversary of bin Laden's death. The operation was carried out over the past few weeks, officials said.
"We have no credible information that terrorist organizations, including al-Qaida, are plotting attacks in the U.S. to coincide with the anniversary of bin Laden's death," White House press secretary Jay Carney said on April 26.
On May 1, the Department of Homeland Security said, "We have no indication of any specific, credible threats or plots against the U.S. tied to the one-year anniversary of bin Laden's death."
The White House did not explain those statements Monday.
The CIA mission was such a secret, even top lawmakers were not told about it as the operation unfolded, one U.S. official said Monday.
The AP learned about the thwarted plot last week but agreed to White House and CIA requests not to publish it immediately because the sensitive intelligence operation was still under way. Once officials said those concerns were allayed, the AP decided to disclose the plot Monday despite requests from the Obama administration to wait for an official announcement Tuesday.
The FBI and Department of Homeland Security acknowledged the existence of the bomb late Monday, but there were no immediate plans to adjust security procedures at airports. Other officials, who were briefed on the operation, insisted on anonymity to discuss details of the plot, many of which the U.S. has not officially acknowledged.
"The device never presented a threat to public safety, and the U.S. government is working closely with international partners to address associated concerns with the device," the FBI said in a statement.
It's not clear who built the bomb, but, because of its sophistication and its similarity to the Christmas bomb, counterterrorism officials suspected it was the work of master bomb maker Ibrahim Hassan al-Asiri or one of his protégées. Al-Asiri constructed the first underwear bomb and two others that al-Qaida built into printer cartridges and shipped to the U.S. on cargo planes in 2010.
Both of those bombs used a powerful industrial explosive. Both were nearly successful.
The operation is an intelligence victory for the United States and a reminder of al-Qaida's ambitions, despite the death of bin Laden and other senior leaders. Because of instability in the Yemeni government, the terrorist group's branch there has gained territory and strength. It has set up terrorist camps and, in some areas, even operates as a de facto government.
But along with the gains there also have been losses. The group has suffered significant setbacks as the CIA and the U.S. military focus more on Yemen. On Sunday, Fahd al-Quso, a senior al-Qaida leader, was hit by a missile as he stepped out of his vehicle along with another operative in the southern Shabwa province of Yemen.
Al-Quso, 37, was on the FBI's most wanted list, with a $5 million reward for information leading to his capture. He was indicted in the U.S. for his role in the 2000 bombing of the USS Cole in the harbor of Aden, Yemen, in which 17 American sailors were killed and 39 injured.
Al-Quso was believed to have replaced Anwar al-Awlaki as the group's head of external operations. Al-Awlaki was killed in a U.S. airstrike last year." The Frustrating Secrecy in the Latest Al-Qaeda Bomb-Plot Story
By Conor Friedersdorf
May 8 2012, 11:02 AM ET 4 theatlantic.com
"Here's how an Associated Press story about the latest "thwarted terror plot" begins:
At the FBI's explosives lab in Virginia, experts are picking apart a sophisticated new al-Qaida bomb to figure out whether it could have slipped past airport security and taken down a commercial airplane, U.S. officials said.
The unexploded bomb represents an intelligence prize, the result of a covert CIA operation in Yemen that thwarted a suicide mission around the anniversary of the killing of Osama bin Laden, officials said. The device did not contain metal, meaning it probably could have passed through an airport metal detector. But it was not clear whether new body scanners used in many airports would have detected it.
Whereas the Los Angeles Times reports it this way (emphasis added):
The FBI is analyzing a sophisticated explosive device, similar to the underwear bomb used in an attempt to blow up a passenger jet over Detroit in 2009, that U.S. officials believe was built by Al Qaeda's affiliate in Yemen in an effort to target Western aircraft. U.S. officials said Monday that no one was captured by U.S. agencies as part of the operation. The officials emphasized that they found no sign of an active plot to use the new bomb design against U.S. aviation or U.S.-bound jetliners.
The device was given to the CIA by a government outside Yemen, officials said. The White House said President Obama was informed of the discovery in April by John Brennan, his top counter-terrorism advisor, and was assured it "did not pose a threat to the public."
So is this actually a big success story for the CIA? Did it do something to get this explosive device? Did some counterterrorism policy we've adopted pay off? Or did someone in a friendly government just hand this over to the CIA? It's very difficult to tell from the news stories.
That's partly because everything is cloaked in needless anonymity. Check out this line from the L.A. Times story:
"At no time was this a viable plot," said a U.S. official who was not authorized to be quoted discussing the matter.
That's a striking assertion. If true, why is it offered anonymously?
It seems clear that U.S. officials want to be seen as both (a) thwarting a very scary terror plot and (b) never having let a terror plot get close to being viable. Maybe both of those things are true. I hope so. It's hard not to be suspicious when everything operates on the conceit that permission hasn't been granted to speak about these things. This faux-secrecy impedes national discourse.
Yes, there are some things that legitimately need to be classified. But this vague information given "on background," so no individual is accountable for it, serves the political ends of administrations, not the security needs of the United States. There are clearly terrorists out to do America harm. Perhaps this is an instance of good work by our national-security team thwarting them. But every time a new averted terror plot is announced I can't help but feel manipulated, partly because the government always seems eager to tell me things it won't stand behind.
In coming days and weeks, it'll be interesting to see if what Obama Administration officials have said to shape the initial stories about this matter turn out to be accurate or not.
Stay tuned." Officials: Al-Qaida bomber was CIA informant
Associated PressBy ADAM GOLDMAN, EILEEN SULLIVAN and MATT APUZZO | Associated Press – 2 hrs 9 mins ago (Tuesday, May 8th 2012) "WASHINGTON (AP) — The CIA had al-Qaida fooled from the beginning.
Last month, U.S. intelligence learned that al-Qaida's Yemen branch hoped to launch a spectacular attack using a new, nearly undetectable bomb aboard an airliner bound for America, officials say.
But the man the terrorists were counting on to carry out the attack was actually working for the CIA and Saudi intelligence, U.S. and Yemeni officials told The Associated Press on Tuesday.
The dramatic sting operation thwarted the attack before it had a chance to succeed.
It was the latest misfire for al-Qaida, which has repeatedly come close to detonating a bomb aboard an airliner. For the United State, it was a victory that delivered the bomb intact to U.S. intelligence.
The officials spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the operation. The cooperation of the would-be bomber was first reported Tuesday evening by The Los Angeles Times.
The FBI is still analyzing the explosive, which was intended to be concealed in a passenger's underwear. Officials said it was an upgrade over the bomb that failed to detonate on board an airplane over Detroit on Christmas 2009. This new bomb contained no metal and used a chemical — lead azide — that was to be a detonator in a nearly successful 2010 plot to attack cargo planes, officials said.
Security procedures at U.S. airports remained unchanged Tuesday, a reflection of both the U.S. confidence in its security systems and a recognition that the government can't realistically expect travelers to endure much more. Increased costs and delays to airlines and shipping companies could have a global economic impact, too.
"I would not expect any real changes for the traveling public," said House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers, R-Mich. "There is a concern that overseas security doesn't match ours. That's an ongoing challenge."
While airline checks in the United States mean passing through an onerous, sometimes embarrassing series of pat-downs and body scans, procedures overseas can be a mixed bag. The U.S. cannot force other countries to permanently adopt the expensive and intrusive measures that have become common in American airports over the past decade.
The Transportation Security Administration sent advice to some international air carriers and airports about security measures that might stave off an attack from a hidden explosive. It's the same advice the U.S. has issued before, but there was a thought that it might get new attention in light of the foiled plot.
The U.S. has worked for years to try to improve security for U.S.-bound flights originating at international airports. And many countries agree that security needs to be better. But while plots such as the Christmas attack have spurred changes, some security gaps that have been closed in the U.S. remain open overseas.
Officials believe that body scanners, for instance, probably would have detected this latest attempt by al-Qaida to bring down a jetliner. Such scanners allow screeners to see objects hidden beneath a passenger's clothes.
But while scanners are in place in airports nationwide, their use is scattershot overseas. Even in security-conscious Europe, the European Union has not required full-body imaging machines for all airports, though a number of major airports in Paris, London, Frankfurt and elsewhere use them.
All passengers on U.S.-bound flights are checked against terrorist watch lists and law enforcement databases.
In some countries, U.S. officials are stationed in airports to offer advice on security matters. In some cases, though, the U.S. is limited to hoping that other countries follow the security advice from the Transportation Security Administration.
"Even if our technology is good enough to spot it, the technology is still in human hands and we are inherently fallible," said Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., a member of the House Intelligence Committee. "And overseas, we have varying degrees of security depending on where the flight originates."
Al-Qaida has repeatedly tried to take advantage of those overseas gaps. The Christmas 2009 bombing originated in Amsterdam, where the bomber did not receive a full-body scan. And in 2010, terrorists smuggled bombs onto cargo jets, which receive less scrutiny than passenger planes.
In both those instances, the bombs were made by al-Qaida's master bomb maker in Yemen, Ibrahim Hassan al-Asiri. Officials believe this latest bomb was the handiwork of al-Asiri or one of his students.
In the meantime, Americans traveled Tuesday with little apparent concern.
"We were nervous — for a minute," said Nan Gartner, a retiree on her way to Italy from New York's John F. Kennedy Airport. "But then we thought, we aren't going anywhere near Yemen, so we're OK."
Associated Press writers Kimberly Dozier, Ted Bridis, Bob Burns, Bradley Klapper and Alan Fram in Washington, Ahmed Al-Haj in Sanaa, Yemen, Verena Dobnik in New York, Paisley Dodds in London, Matthew Lee in New Delhi and Slobodan Lekic in Brussels contributed to this report."
"Lecture by Imam Anwar al-Awlaki, who is a Muslim scholar of Yemeni heritage born in New Mexico. He served as an Imam in California, and later in the Washington, D.C. area where he headed the Dar Al-Hijrah Islamic Center and was also the Muslim Chaplain at George Washington University. In 2004 he returned to his native Yemen where he taught at Eman university until his arrest in mid 2006. Imam Anwar was released from custody on the 12th of December 2007 having spent a year and a half behind bars..."
"(CNN) -- The father of a teenage girl who remarkably survived a plane crash off the Comoros islands has described how his daughter was ejected from the plane into the Indian Ocean.
"She didn't feel a thing. She found herself in water," Paris-based Kassim Bakari told French radio RTL after speaking to his 13-year-old daughter Bahia who was recovering Wednesday in hospital in Moroni.
"She could hear people talking, but in the middle of the night she couldn't see a thing. She managed to hold on to a piece of something," said Bakari, whose wife was also on board the doomed flight and is presumed to be among the 152 victims.
"She said she was ejected from the plane," Bakari said.
Bahia, who lives in Marseille, escaped with just cuts to her face and a fractured collar-bone as the Yemenia Airways Airbus A310 tried to land at Moroni airport at the end of a four-stage flight from France. Video Watch more about Bahia's escape »
A local surgeon said Bahia was doing well in hospital. "Her health is not in danger. She is very calm given the shock she suffered," Ben Imani told Reuters.com at Moroni's El Marouf hospital. The girl is expected to be flown home to France on a ministerial plane, Agence France-Presse reports.
Earlier Kassim Bakari told France Info, a French radio network, that his wife and daughter were flying to Comoros to visit relatives.
"When I had her on the phone, I asked her what happened and she said, 'Daddy, I don't know what happened, but the plane fell into the water and I found myself in the water ... surrounded by darkness. I could not see anyone,'" Bakari said.
French junior foreign minister Alain Joyandet met the girl in hospital on Wednesday and heard how she was pulled from the sea.
The head of the rescue team in the Comoros also told RTL the teenager survived astonishing odds. "It is truly, truly, miraculous," said Ibrahim Abdoulazeb. "The young girl can barely swim."
Another rescuer told France's Europe 1 radio the girl was spotted in the rough sea among bodies and plane debris in darkness about two hours after the crash.
"We tried to throw a life buoy. She could not grab it. I had to jump in the water to get her," the rescuer said, according to AFP. Video Watch as airline describes child's rescue »
"She was shaking, shaking. We put four covers on her. We gave her hot, sugary water. We simply asked her name, village."
Bakari said he did not believe he would see his wife or daughter again after learning of the crash.
"She is a very, very shy girl. I would never have thought she would have survived like this. I can't say that it's a miracle, I can say that it is God's will," he said.
Kassim Bakari said his daughter had been told her mother survived the crash. "When I spoke to her she was asking for her mother. They told her she was in a room next door, so as not to traumatize her. But it's not true. I don't know who is going to tell her."
Former pilot and aviation analyst John Cox said the girl's discovery reminded him of the 1987 crash of Northwest Flight 255 in Detroit, Michigan, in which only a 4-year-old girl survived, while 156 others died. "
Islamic Village Wedding in Yemen
"I was delighted when my friend invited me to a double wedding party in a village in Yemen. This was only a few miles from the Red Sea in the Tihama. You will see the 2 grooms (wearing funny hats and chewing qat) and zero women or brides. The ladies had a separate party somewhere else. The plastic they were spreading on the ground was for the feast. The big tent and cushons were for people to just hang out. Look for the wedding singer with a cordless microphone. The guy shooting the big gun at the end was a body guard for a local sheik who showed up. Oh, and did you see the little kid with an AK-47 machine gun? Pray hard!"
"SANAA, YEMEN (ANS) -- Yemeni protesters inspired by recent events in Tunisia rallied in the streets of the capital Sanaa on Thursday (Jan.27) to call for the departure of President Ali Abdullah Saleh, who has been in power since 1978.
According to FRANCE24 TV, citing newswires such as AFP, thousands of Yemenis demonstrated in the capital calling on President Ali Abdullah Saleh to depart after being in power since 1978.
"Enough being in power for (over) 30 years," chanted protesters in demonstrations staged by the Common Forum opposition in four different locations in Sanaa, according to the newswire reports.
They also referred to the ouster of Tunisian president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, saying he was "gone in just (over) 20 years."
"No to extending (presidential tenure). No to bequeathing (the presidency)," they chanted, insisting that it was "time for change."
"Common Forum go ahead. It is time for change," proclaimed banners carried in the demonstrations.
AFP explained that a Common Forum activist said the staging of the demonstration in four separate parts of the capital was aimed at distracting the security forces.
The news agency said one area chosen for the protest was outside Sanaa University.
Saleh's ruling General People's Congress, meanwhile, organized four simultaneous counter demonstrations attended by thousands of the government's backers, the AFP reported on the FRANCE24 website.
"No to toppling democracy and the constitution," the president's supporters said in their banners.
On Saturday, hundreds of Sanaa University students held counter protests on campus, with some calling for Saleh to step down and others for him to remain in office, the FRANCE24 TV station reported.
Saleh, who has been president for decades, was re-elected in September 2006 for a seven-year mandate.
FRANCE24 TV went on to state that a draft amendment of the constitution, under discussion in parliament despite opposition protests, could allow him -- if passed -- to remain in office for life.
"A police raid on an anti-government protest at a university campus in Sanaa, the Yemeni capital, has left at least one person dead, and several others seriously injured.
In a separate clash between pro- and anti-government protesters in the country's south, one supporter of Ali Abdullah Saleh, the Yemeni president, was killed.
Al Jazeera's Hashem Ahelbarra in Sanaa has more on the brewing political crisis in Yemen."
"31The Queen of the South will rise at the judgment with the men of this generation and condemn them; for she came from the ends of the earth to listen to Solomon's wisdom, and now one[a] greater than Solomon is here."-Luke 11:31
The Queen of Sheba - Black, Arab(!) or both? 1 of 3.
"Another one I found from the mid 1990's about the Queen of Sheba. The artifacts give a good idea that certain types of Arabians were of the 'white' type. We all know that the horn of Africa is mixed with Arabs (whatever that is) and vice versa, but it is clearer that the African side has more African in it, although Yemen still looks just like Africans, except that they do look lighter on a whole.
This one is also an excuse to see the other part of African and Arabia viewed as one... "
*see GoodnewsEverybody.com African-Ethiopian of Ethiopia Outreach
"1 When the queen of Sheba heard of Solomon's fame, she came to Jerusalem to test him with hard questions. Arriving with a very great caravan—with camels carrying spices, large quantities of gold, and precious stones—she came to Solomon and talked with him about all she had on her mind. 2 Solomon answered all her questions; nothing was too hard for him to explain to her. 3 When the queen of Sheba saw the wisdom of Solomon, as well as the palace he had built, 4 the food on his table, the seating of his officials, the attending servants in their robes, the cupbearers in their robes and the burnt offerings he made at [a] the temple of the LORD, she was overwhelmed.
5 She said to the king, "The report I heard in my own country about your achievements and your wisdom is true. 6 But I did not believe what they said until I came and saw with my own eyes. Indeed, not even half the greatness of your wisdom was told me; you have far exceeded the report I heard. 7 How happy your men must be! How happy your officials, who continually stand before you and hear your wisdom! 8 Praise be to the LORD your God, who has delighted in you and placed you on his throne as king to rule for the LORD your God. Because of the love of your God for Israel and his desire to uphold them forever, he has made you king over them, to maintain justice and righteousness."
9 Then she gave the king 120 talents [b] of gold, large quantities of spices, and precious stones. There had never been such spices as those the queen of Sheba gave to King Solomon.
10 (The men of Hiram and the men of Solomon brought gold from Ophir; they also brought algumwood [c] and precious stones. 11 The king used the algumwood to make steps for the temple of the LORD and for the royal palace, and to make harps and lyres for the musicians. Nothing like them had ever been seen in Judah.)
12 King Solomon gave the queen of Sheba all she desired and asked for; he gave her more than she had brought to him. Then she left and returned with her retinue to her own country.
".. was the woman who ruled the ancient kingdom of Sheba and is referred to in Habeshan history, the Hebrew Bible, the New Testament, and the Qur'an.
The location of the historical kingdom may have included part or all of modern day Eritrea, Ethiopia, and Yemen...
Hebrew biblical account
Claude Lorrain, The Embarkation of the Queen of Sheba
According to the Hebrew Bible, the unnamed queen of the land of Sheba heard of the great wisdom of King Solomon of Israel and journeyed there with gifts of spices, gold, precious stones, and beautiful wood and to test him with questions, as recorded in First Kings 10:1-13 (largely copied in 2 Chronicles 9:1-12).
It is related further that the queen was awed by Solomon's great wisdom and wealth, and pronounced a blessing on Solomon's God. Solomon reciprocated with gifts and "everything she desired," whereupon the queen returned to her country. The queen apparently was quite rich, however, as she brought four and a half tons of gold with her to give to Solomon (1 Kings 10:10).
In the biblical passages which refer explicitly to the Queen of Sheba there is no hint of love or sexual attraction between Solomon and the Queen of Sheba. The two are depicted merely as fellow monarchs engaged in the affairs of state.
The biblical text, Song of Solomon (Song of Songs), contains some references, which at various times, have been interpreted as referring to love between Solomon and the Queen of Sheba. The young woman of the Song of Songs, however, continues to deny the romantic advances of her suitor, whom many commentators identify as King Solomon. In any case, there is little to identify this speaker in the text with the rich and powerful foreign queen depicted in the Book of Kings. The woman of the text of the song clearly does regard "The Daughters of Jerusalem" as her peer group.
The Queen of Sheba is mentioned as the Queen of the South in Matthew 12:42 and Luke 11:31 in the New Testament, where Jesus indicates that she and the Ninevites will judge the generation of Jesus' contemporaries who rejected him.
Christian interpretations of the scriptures mentioning the Queen of Sheba in the Hebrew Bible, the Old Testament, typically have emphasized both the historical and metaphorical values in the story. The account of the Queen of Sheba is thereby interpreted by Christians as being both a metaphor and an analogy: the Queen's visit to Solomon has been compared to the metaphorical marriage of the Church to Christ where Solomon is the anointed one or the messiah and Sheba represents a Gentile population submitting to the messiah; the Queen of Sheba's chastity has also been depicted as a foreshadowing of the Virgin Mary; and the three gifts that she brought (gold, spices, and stones) have been seen as analogous to the gifts of the Magi (gold, frankincense, and myrrh). The latter is emphasized as being consistent with a passage from Isaiah 60:6; And they from Sheba shall come: they shall bring forth gold and incense; and they shall show forth the praises of the Lord. This last connection is interpreted[who?] as relating to the Magi, the learned astronomers of Sheba who saw a new star and set off on a journey to find a new ruler connected to the new star, that led them to Bethlehem.
"42The Queen of the South will rise at the judgment with this generation and condemn it; for she came from the ends of the earth to listen to Solomon's wisdom, and now one greater than Solomon is here."-Matthew 12:42
Al Qaeda in Yemen says it is fighting the US - 22 Dec 09
"Men claiming to be leaders of al Qaeda have made a rare public appearance in Yemen, telling an anti-government rally the fight is against the US, not the country's army. The statement was made at an al Qaeda training camp in southern Yemen - the same one that was attacked by the Americans leaving more than 30 dead. Al Jazeera's Tarek Bazley has this exclusive report. "
*see GoodnewsEverybody.com African-Nigerian Outreach "“American officials have cause to worry there may be more al Qaeda-trained young men in Yemen planning to bring down American jets,” report Brian Ross and Richard Esposito. “Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, charged with the attempted Christmas Day bombing of Northwest Airlines flight 253, told FBI agents there were more just like him in Yemen who would strike soon.”
And then there is the supposed tape released four days before the attempted underwear bombing. It shows what ABC describes as “the leader of al Qaeda in Yemen” who says he will kill Americans. “We are carrying a bomb to hit the enemies of God.”
“Yemen has become a principal al Qaeda training ground and the accused suicide bomber told the FBI he was trained for more than a month in Yemen, given 80 grams of a high explosive cleverly sewn into his underpants, undetected by standard security screening.”..
Patricia “Scotty” Keepman and her daughter witnessed the alleged botched bombing. Keepman’s “daughter said that ahead of them was a man who videotaped the entire flight, including the attempted detonation.”
“He sat up and videotaped the entire thing, very calmly,” said Patricia. “We do know that the FBI is looking for him intensely. Since then, we’ve heard nothing about it.”
On Saturday it was reported that a “sharp-dressed man” had escorted Umar Farouk Abdul Mutallab when he boarded Northwest Airlines Flight 253 in Amsterdam. Mutallab was allowed on the plane without a passport. It was later reported that Mutallab seemed to be in a trance.
The alleged videotaping of the underwear bomber and his fudged attack is another oddity that the corporate media should zoom in on. Unfortunately, we no longer have a functioning investigative media in this country.
Instead we will hear endless pabulum about a resurgent al-Qaeda and murderous idiocy from neocons like Joe Lieberman who are screaming for another small and defenseless country to be bombed and more innocents slaughtered as the U.S. chases a phantom terror group created by the CIA."
"SAN'A, Yemen – Yemen's government said Tuesday the U.S. should have shared its warnings about the Nigerian suspect in the botched Christmas Day airline attack, and said it was tightening restrictions on student visas like the one that allowed the young man to enter the country.
Information Minister Hassan al-Lozy confirmed that Umar Faruk Abdulmutallab spent two extended periods in Yemen, as recently as this month, and that authorities were trying to determine what he did during that time. Investigators said he spent at least part of the time studying Arabic at a school in the capital of San'a, where students and administrators described him as friendly and outgoing with no overtly extremist views. As part of the investigation, the principal of a school where he studied was being questioned Tuesday....
Yemen's Foreign Ministry said Monday Abdulmutallab received a Yemeni visa after authorities were reassured that he had "several visas from a number of friendly countries." It noted that Abdulmutallab had a valid visa to the United States, which he had visited in the past. The embassy has now been instructed not to issue any more visas to students who want to study in the country without Interior Ministry approval.
The San'a Institute for the Arabic Language told The Associated Press that Abdulmutallab was an Arabic student at the school in August. That has raised questions about what he did the rest of his time in Yemen. Administrators at the school said Monday that the director of the school, Muhammad al-Anisi, has spent two days being questioned by Yemeni security officials. He remained in custody Tuesday.
Al-Lozy later told The Associated Press authorities are also looking into Abdulmutallab's frequent visits to a mosque in the old, historic part of the city and the people he was with during his stay in Yemen.
Students and administrators at the institute said Abdulmutallab was gregarious, had many Yemeni friends and was not overtly extremist. They noted, however, he was open about his sympathies toward the Palestinians and his anger over Israel's actions in Gaza.
The students and administrators spoke on condition of anonymity because Yemeni security authorities have ordered them not to talk to the media.
Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula claimed responsibility for the attempted attack on the airliner and said it was retaliation for a U.S. operation against the group in Yemen. More than 60 militants were killed in airstrikes last week believed to have been carried out with U.S. assistance."
"This video is in remembrance of three missionaries killed on December 30, 2002"
"Northern Yemen: No churches at all have been allowed. In South Yemen there had been churches when the British were there but when they withdrew all been forcibly closed. In this area of the world closed to churches and evangelism, God brought us in Glory.
We arrived in Sana, the capital of North Yemen. At the airport God completely confronted the custom officials when they wanted to know what it I had (the cross). I pointed up saying, "Allah.' They smiled and waved us through. Much of this country is like going back in time. The architecture is Arabic and so are the clothes.
..We finally arrived at one special place along the beach, where beautiful palm trees and palm branches that made an enclosure where there was an open fireplace and straw beds. We were to sleep under the open skies. The driver, Ganim was very excited. The people from the village began arriving. The local doctor and school teachers came. One of the teachers had an English class, so he brought his entire class of boys to practice their English on me. Of course, our subject was Jesus and the crucifixion of Christ and how he had died on the cross for our sins. They were completely full of interest and eager to hear more about the good news of the Gospel
. The local doctor was quite fascinating. It seemed that his main remedy for every problem was to chew 'gat'. Now, gat is a form of drug. It's a plant that is grown in Yemen and has a narcotic like effect upon those who chew it. You take the leaves and stuff them inside your mouth, chewing one leaf, then another, but not swallowing them, only sucking the juice until the side of the mouth protrudes, like you had swallowed something about half the size of a baseball, pooching out the side of the cheek. The chewing of gat began about 2 o'clock in the afternoon. It is the national pastime of Yemen. It is actually legal inside the country and I would dare say that 95% of the men chew gat everyday. It seems to be quite expensive. So, everyone was chewing gat and trying to get us to chew it. They didn't view it as a drug; they simply viewed it as their way of life. A man came just before dark. He cooked beans, rice, and fish and we sat under the beautiful moonlight and stars, eating this fabulous Yemen food. It was awfully hot inside the enclosure. There was no way to get a sea breeze. ..
We would sing them songs, "Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so', and they would learn these little songs and sing the songs into the village, clapping, singing and laughing. As we would arrive in each small village, everyone would greet us. The women would all stay back in the distance, but the men and the children would be come up to shake our hands and to welcome us into their village. They gave us food and drink and we would give them Jesus stickers with the cross on them and tell them the good news of the love of Christ. Finally, we arrived at Ganim's house. Everyone in his family was there to greet us. All the neighborhood women were standing back. We expressed our gratitude for bringing us into his home. We went into a large room. There were only cushions around the room with carpets to sit on. You would lean against the cushions. Soon the entire room was filled with men with daggers, all joining us for tea. A man brought in food, put the food on the floor and all the men sat around. You eat with your hands out of common bowls. This was fabulous food and wonderful hospitality. For Denise, it was an unusual experience to be eating in the homes of the Arab people. No place in Yemen did men and women eat together, especially in public or in homes when there were strangers. But they always welcomed Denise to eat, even when we were in public places and only men around. Denise was wearing a scarf that wrapped her head and around her neck. She wore a long dress or she wore long baggy pants when we were walking. After dinner, the chief of the entire area came to greet us. He welcomed us and he welcomed the cross. He wanted to hear the story of the cross and we told him. He sat in deep, deep interest listening, as we explained the good news of Jesus. We did not need an interpreter because he spoke English very well. After we had explained the Gospel, he looked at us and said, "Now, we welcome you. We are happy you have come with the cross and with the news of Jesus. We have never heard this before. We have never had a follower of Jesus in this area. We welcome you and as an expression of our welcome, I want to invite you and your wife this afternoon, to chew gat with us.' I thanked him for the welcome and told him we wanted to give him a little Gospel material and a large Jesus sticker with a cross on it. I explained to him that like Muslims who do not drink alcohol, because they consider it ungodly, and I have a great respect for this. “ I would like you to respect the fact that we do not chew gat and this is a religious conviction of ours. We thank you for the invitation, but I just don't think that we could handle it.' And he laughed and we laughed. When an Arab offers you something in hospitality, whether it be tea, or something else to drink, water or anything, it is a great humiliation if their offer is not accepted. It is almost an affront. But due to our gracious and loving way of communicating and sharing, he completely understood and was not embarrassed at all. Finally, with the chief waving goodbye to us, we left that village and continued onto the next. .
South Yemen "..There were churches in Aden but every church building was closed. Many of them boarded up. Inside you could see hymn books still laying in the pews, with dirt and dust, overturned chairs and knocked over pulpits. With tears streaming down my face, I thought how many times the Gospel of Christ had been preached in this city and now all the churches were closed. As we walked with the cross, we saw a tremendous response from the people. Just a few weeks before, South Yemen and North Yemen had agreed to merge into one nation, and with that union came a more market orientated society, so people could now buy and sell. ..
We would stand conversing about the love of Jesus Christ and the joy of bringing the cross to Aden. Finally we reached the seaside, the end of a long, beautiful, glorious time in North and South Yemen. All I can say is God did it. In the midst of the Gulf crisis, with war looming in the Gulf, with people there very supportive of Iraq, and very firmly against the Saudi Arabians, and the American presence in the Gulf, they welcomed the cross of Jesus with love and great respect. All Glory to God.."
*see GoodnewsEverybody.com Movies: The Passion, Crucification, Easter, Resurrection, etc..
"WASHINGTON, D.C. / YEMEN (ANS) -- Yemeni authorities have arrested seven Christians, including an unknown number of American citizens, in the Yemeni province of Hodiada.
According to the Yemeni news website Sahwa Net, the Christians are charged with �promoting to Christianity and distributing the Bible [sic].� The paper does not clarify if the Christians were formally charged in a court of law based on those allegations.
The Washington, D.C.-based human rights group, International Christian Concern (ICC) www.persecution.org said the believers were arrested on June 18, 2008, The seven Christians were transferred to the capital city of Sana'a and the Yemeni authorities are investigating them. The ICC sources indicated that the Christians face the possibility of being tortured by Yemeni Security forces.
ICC says that among the arrested is Hadni Dohni, a Yemeni Muslim who converted to Christianity. The rest of the six are foreigners.
In a media release, ICC explains that Christians living in Muslim countries are coming under increasing persecution.
The group says: "Christians in Iran, Egypt and Algeria have seen a spike in anti-Christian activity. This recent imprisonment of Christians in Yemen is part of a growing persecution of Christians in Islamic countries."
Please pray for the safety of these seven Christians, and that the Lord will protect them from torture and other types of mistreatment. Please pray for strength and courage for the seven as they go through this difficult situation, and that they will be released quickly.
You can also help by calling US or Yemeni officials about the seven Christians. Please go to www.house.gov and www.senate.gov to find the contact information for your elected officials and alert them to the imprisonment of these seven Christians. Make sure you let them know that Americans were detained as well. Ask them to put pressure on the government of Yemen to release them. You can find contact information for Yemeni embassies below:
Country Phone Fax Email
(202) 965-4760; (202) 337-2017 firstname.lastname@example.org , email@example.com
(613) 729-6627; (613) 729-8915 firstname.lastname@example.org
(+44) 207 584 6607; (+44) 207 589 3350 email@example.com
(030) 897305-0 ;(030) 897305-62
ICC is a Washington-DC based human rights organization that exists to help persecuted Christians worldwide. ICC delivers humanitarian aid, trains and supports persecuted pastors, raises awareness in the US regarding the problem of persecution, and is an advocate for the persecuted on Capitol Hill and the State Department. For additional information or for an interview, contact ICC at 800-422-5441.
Contact: Darara Gubo, Regional Manager for Africa, 1-800-ICC (422)-5441, firstname.lastname@example.org . "
"SANAA, Yemen -- Al Qaeda's Yemen branch said Thursday that it killed an American teacher because he was trying to spread Christianity in the mainly Muslim Arab nation.
Joel Shrum, a 29-year-old native of Mount Joy, Pennsylvania, was gunned down on Sunday in the central city of Taiz, where he had been living with his wife and two sons. He was studying Arabic and teaching English at a language institute.
The claim of responsibility, which was posted on a militant website, comes as the terror network increasingly has sought to exploit the political turmoil in the Arab world's most impoverished nation.
"It was God's gift for the mujahedeen to kill the American Joel Shrum who was actively proselytizing under the cover of teaching in Taiz," said the statement by Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, as the terror network's Yemen branch is formally known.
The slain teacher had worked at the International Training and Development Center, which was established in the 1970s and is one of the oldest foreign language institutes in Yemen.
A text message that circulated by mobile phone in Yemen after his killing said "holy warriors" had killed "a senior missionary" in Taiz, the country's second most populous city after the capital Sanaa.
Shrum's parents, who reside in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, say he went to Yemen in 2009 to learn Arabic, not to proselytize, and became passionate about teaching business skills to Yemenis.
A colleague at the language center, who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisal, said Shrum used to encourage Yemenis to stay true to their Islamic faith and did not try to convert people to Christianity.
He said Shrum not only taught Yemenis English, but would often buy students books and assist them in learning computer skills.
Hundreds of youth activists and other protesters marched Tuesday through Taiz demanding justice for the Shrum. They carried photos of Shrum as they marched through the city's streets, chanting, "Yemen is not a place for terrorism. We love you Joel!"
Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula said it would not allow Christian proselytizing to continue in Yemen and threatened to attack other U.S. citizens and interests if the United States does not stop aiding Israel, viewed as an enemy by most Arab nations.
"The United States, its infidel subjects and interests, are legitimate targets for our jihad until it ends its war against Islam and Muslims, starting with its aid for Jews in Palestine and recurring crimes in Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia and Yemen."
The statement's authenticity could not be verified, but it was issued by al-Fajr, the media arm of Al Qaeda, and posted on a website that routinely carries militant statements.
Al Qaeda and other militant groups are active in Yemen, located on the southern tip of the Arabian Peninsula. Yemen has suffered a breakdown of security during a yearlong uprising that eventually led to the ouster of the country's president last month after 33 years of authoritarian rule.
Since he stepped down last month, the former leader, Ali Abdullah Saleh, has been accused by the opposition of meddling in the country's affairs. They also accuse his loyalists in top security positions of allowing and at times possibly encouraging militant attacks as a means of eroding the capabilities of the new national unity government.
"also known as kat, qaat, quat, gat, jaad, chat, chad, chaad and miraa, is a flowering plant native to tropical East Africa and the Arabian Peninsula.
Khat contains the alkaloid called cathinone, an amphetamine-like stimulant which is said to cause excitement, loss of appetite and euphoria. In 1980 the World Health Organization classified khat as a drug of abuse that can produce mild to moderate psychological dependence. The plant has been targeted by anti-drug organizations like the DEA. It is a controlled/illegal substance in many countries, but is legal for sale and production in many others...
"24 October 2000
Al Saqqaf, a newspaper publisher, is one of the loudest critics of the drug that has become a Yemeni national obsession.
Produced by ABC Australia
Distributed by Journeyman Pictures "
Fish Market: Hodeidah, Yemen
"Here is a video of the fishing port in the city of Hodeidah in the Republic of Yemen in 2002. The port is on the Red Sea. The music I added is Egyptian Christian music. As far as I know, every person you see in this video is a Muslim. The people of Hodeidah are some of the most hospitable folks I have ever met. Please pray for each one of them!"