Obama terrorism aide praises UAE reaction to bomb plot

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President Barack Obama's counter-terrorism chief John Brennan heaped praise Sunday on the United Arab Emirates in a phone call with the crown prince, for "skillful and timely action" to disrupt a parcel bomb plot, the White House said.

On Obama's behalf, Brennan spoke with UAE Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayid "to express strong appreciation for the outstanding work of UAE authorities in disrupting a terrorist plot that involved concealed improvised explosive devices," the White House said in a statement.

"Brennan conveyed the president's sincere appreciation to the UAE for the excellent cooperation between our countries on counterterrorism and other security matters," it said.

"He expressed... gratitude for the skillful and timely action by UAE security officials to disrupt the attempted attack."

US officials have said the two intercepted packages in the plot originating out of Yemen were addressed to synagogues in Chicago.

Obama has meanwhile made it clear he suspects the involvement of AQAP (Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula), the Yemen-based branch of Osama bin Laden's extremist network.

Brennan earlier Sunday said there was no intelligence indicating there were any additional parcel bombs from Yemen, though he refused to rule out the possibility.

He also said that evidence suggested the same person built the parcel bombs and the device worn by the "underwear" bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab who botched an attack on a flight to Detroit on Christmas Day 2009.

Ibrahim Hassan al-Asiri, an alleged Al-Qaeda bombmaker born in Saudi Arabia but based in Yemen, was a "leading suspect" in the parcel bomb plot," Brennan said.

© 2010 AFP

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