30 Dec 2009

US and Yemen seek targets for retaliation

9:38 pm on 30 December 2009

United States and Yemeni officials are reported to be looking at fresh targets for a possible retaliation strike in Yemen.

CNN reports the discussions follow a failed attempt to blow up an airliner over Detroit on Christmas Day, which the group Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula later claimed responsibility for.

The television network says it was told by two anonymous US officials they are trying to identify targets linked directly to the airline incident.

It says they stressed the effort is aimed at being ready with options in the event the US President Barack Obama orders a retaliatory strike.

Earlier Yemeni authorities confirmed that the man charged with the attempted bombing was in the Yemeni capital Sanaa until early this month.

Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab has reportedly said al-Qaeda operatives in Yemen had supplied him with the bomb and that there were others like him who would strike soon.

A Yemeni government spokesperson says the 23-year-old Nigerian was in Sanaa from the beginning of August on a visa to study Arabic.

Meanwhile, Yemen's foreign minister has told the BBC his government is not getting enough support from the West to tackle al-Qaeda.

Abu Bakr al-Qirbi said several hundred al-Qaeda members are estimated to be operating in Yemen and could be planning more attacks.