Yemeni Cleric Says He Did Not Order Dec. 25 Attack

Yemeni American clericAnwar al-Aulaqi taught and corresponded with the suspect in theattempted Dec. 25 airline bombing but did not order the attack, Aulaqisaid this week.

Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, a Nigerian, "is one ofmy students; yes, we were in correspondence" Aulaqi said in aninterview published Tuesday in Arabic by "But I did notgive (him) a fatwa in regards to this operation." In Islam, a fatwa isan order by a recognized religious authority.

The interview wasthe first to claim direct contact with Aulaqi since the attemptedattack but did not indicate when or where it took place. Anintroduction to the question-and-answer format said it was rushedbecause of "security conditions and precautions."