The US State Department on Tuesday slapped financial sanctions on leaders of the Yemen-based al-Qaida group that claimed responsibility for the Christmas Day attack on a Detroit-bound airliner.
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton approved sanctions that include a travel ban, assets freeze and arms embargo against Qasim al-Raimi, a top military commander for al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsuala. Raimi, whose name is also spelled al-Rimi, threatened new attacks against America, saying in an online magazine in February that his group "will blow up the earth from below your feet."
Also targeted was Nayif al-Qahtani, who manages the group's operations in Yemen and has served as a liaison between the al-Qaida cells in Yemen and Saudi Arabia.
The US has become increasingly worried about militants based in Yemen since al-Qaida groups there and in Saudi Arabia merged last year to become AQAP, and began to openly target US and other Western interests in Yemen and abroad.