Following the money behind Flight 253

December 28, 2009

AKA Saeed al-Shehri

Did this Guantanamo returnee raise riyals for Abdulmutallab’s bomb?


The failed jihadist plot to blow up Northwest Airlines Flight 253 was hatched by Yemen-based Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).  The Yemeni connection has been exposed by many reporters, including Brian Ross of ABC News

The plot to blow up an American passenger jet over Detroit was organized and launched by al Qaeda leaders in Yemen who apparently sewed bomb materials into the suspect’s underwear before sending him on his mission, federal authorities tell ABC News… 

Investigators say the suspect, Abdul Farouk Umar Abdulmutallab, a 23-year-old Nigerian student …says he made contact via the internet with a radical imam in Yemen who then connected him with al Qaeda leaders in a village north of the country’s capital, Sanaa… 

The al Qaeda affiliate in Yemen has increasingly taken on a lead role in coordinating major terror attacks as the U.S. has disrupted al Qaeda training camps in Pakistan, according to American authorities… 

PETN, the explosive used on Flight 253, is expensive.  It would take a major organization like AQAP to procure it.  And just where would they get the money to do so?  Unsurprisingly, they get it from Islamic “donations.”  

Does anybody remember this Reuters article from September, “Yemen’s Qaeda wing seeks donations in Saudi Arabia”?  Keep this formula in mind before you read the article: 

Islamic “donations” = zakat + sadaqa 

Sept 27 (Reuters) – Al Qaeda’s Yemeni wing is targeting Saudi individuals to ask for donations to support its fight against the U.S.-allied government of Sanaa, Al Arabiya television reported on Sunday. 

The campaign comes at a time when Yemen, one of the poorest countries outside Africa, is battling Shi’ite rebels in the north and sporadic violence in the south where secessionist sentiment is running high. 

Saudi Arabia, the world’s top oil exporter, is the largest Arab economy and the birthplace of Islam. 

Arabiya aired a video showing a Saudi member of the group it identified as Saeed al-Shehri urging fellow Saudis to donate money to support al Qaeda fighters in Yemen. 

Saeed al-Shehri (also spelled “Said al-Shihri”) was a detainee at Guantanamo Bay (see the fifth paragraph of this Times article).  After being released by the U.S., he escaped from jail abroad.  Now he appears to be AQAP’s public fundraiser.


  1. abc news is of course one of the most reputable news sources these days `;;

    • Do you disagree with ABC reporting that AQAP was behind Abdulmutallab’s attempt?

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