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Qaeda wing says behind attack on U.S. plane: website


Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab is seen in this undated handout, distributed by IntelCenter on December 28, 2009, and accredited to Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. Abdulmutallab, who was traveling with a valid U.S. visa although he was on a broad U.S. list of possible security threats, was overpowered by passengers and crew on the Northwest Airlines flight 253 from Amsterdam to Detroit on December 25 after setting alight an explosive device attache
Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab is seen in this undated handout, distributed by IntelCenter on December 28, 2009, and accredited to Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. Abdulmutallab, who was traveling with a valid U.S. visa although he was on a broad U.S. list of possible security threats, was overpowered by passengers and crew on the Northwest Airlines flight 253 from Amsterdam to Detroit on December 25 after setting alight an explosive device attache

DUBAI (Reuters) - A regional wing of al Qaeda said it was behind the failed Christmas Day bombing of a U.S. passenger plane, which was meant to avenge U.S. attacks on the group in Yemen, according to a web statement posted on Monday.

The group said it had provided the Nigerian suspect with a "technically advanced device" but that it had failed to detonate because of a technical fault.

"The martyrdom-seeking brother Umar reached his target ... but a technical fault occurred leading to a lack of complete explosion," Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula said in the statement posted on Islamist websites.

The group identified the suspect as Umar Farouk al-Nigiri (the Nigerian), and published a montage of him smiling with a passenger plane in the background.

Nigerian Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, 23, is charged with attempting to blow up a Delta Airlines plane as it approached Detroit on a flight from Amsterdam with almost 300 people on board.

"We call on all Muslims ... to throw out all unbelievers from the Arabian Peninsula by killing crusaders who work in embassies or elsewhere ... (in) a total war on all crusaders in the Peninsula of (Prophet) Mohammad," it said.

On Sunday, the group said in an Internet statement it would take revenge over raids against it this month, which it said were carried out by U.S. jets and killed about 50 men, women and children.

The United States and Saudi Arabia fear al Qaeda will exploit instability in Yemen to stage attacks in the kingdom, the world's largest oil exporter, and beyond.

(Reporting by Firouz Sedarat; Editing by Ulf Laessing and Robin Pomeroy)

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