DUBAI (Reuters) - A regional wing of Al-Qaeda said it was behind the attempted 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 today.
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 December 27, 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.