CAIRO — Ibrahim Hassan al-Asiri is considered a key figure in al-Qaida's most active franchise and is now the chief suspect behind the mail bombs sent from Yemen and bound for the United States, according to US intelligence officials on Monday.
Forensic analysis indicates that Asiri, who is living in Yemen, built all three devices and is believed to have a fair degree of skill and training, although all the operations have been unsuccessful.
Asiri is suspected of packing explosives into the underwear of a Nigerian accused of trying to blow up a Detroit-bound airliner last Christmas and sent his own brother on a suicide mission against a top Saudi official. Together with a US-born preacher, Yemeni militants, and former Saudi inmates of Guantanamo, al-Asiri makes up the leadership of al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula.
Yemeni security officials said they are searching for al-Asiri, who is believed to be in Marib province.