“The US is planning retaliatory strikes in Yemen against al-Qaida over its attempt to blow up a transatlantic flight on Christmas Day. American officials say intelligence efforts are focused on identifying and tracking down those who plotted to put Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab on the plane with enough explosive in his underwear to bring down the Northwest Airlines flight from Amsterdam. But they warn that finding those responsible is unlikely to be swift and say that identifying other “high-value’ al-Qaida targets for retaliatory attack would also be a priority. ‘First we have to find out who put Abdulmutallab on the plane with the bomb,’ said a US official working alongside intelligence organisations. ‘He’s providing some leads and we’re not dealing with an unknown quantity here. We’ve been watching and listening to what goes on in Yemen and we may have pieces of the puzzle already and just need to fit it together.’”
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