Yemen's deputy prime minister said on Thursday the Nigerian accused of trying to blow up a US passenger jet on Christmas met in Yemen with a radical American-Yemeni cleric linked to al-Qaida and the alleged Fort Hood shooter.
Rashad al-Alimi said that Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab met with cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, and other al-Qaida leaders in Yemen.
Al-Awlaki, a cleric popular among al-Qaida sympathizers for his calls for jihad, or holy war, became notorious in the US after he exchanged dozens of e-mails with US Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, who allegedly killed 13 people in a mass shooting at the Fort Hood, Texas Army post on Nov. 5.
Al-Alimi said Yemen has arrested a number of al-Qaida elements who had contacts with the Abdulmutallab and is interrogating them.
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