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Question of the Day
In December, U.S.-backed Yemeni forces made at least two unsuccessful attempts to kill Mr. al-Awlaki. The latest was the day before the Detroit plane was to be attacked. In its Monday statement, al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula said the Northwest plot was launched in response to recent “American aggression” in Yemen.
However, Mr. Hoekstra expressed skepticism about claims that the bombing plot was retaliation for the December strikes because the terrorist attack likely would have been in the works long before then. He described the timing of the U.S. strikes as simply giving al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula a convenient peg for saying its airplane plot was retaliatory.
The Yemeni Foreign Ministry said Monday that Mr. Abdulmutallab had been in the country from August to early December, having received a visa to study Arabic at the San’a Institute for the Arabic Language. A trip to Yemen to learn Arabic was also a major step in the radicalization of John Walker Lindh, the “American Taliban.”
According to an Associated Press dispatch from San’a, Yemen’s capital, the Yemeni Embassy in the U.S. has been told not to issue student visas without Interior Ministry approval. The school’s director also is being questioned by Yemeni authorities.
• Ben Conery contributed to this report.
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