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Al Qaeda ties of Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab: How deep do they go?

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Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the young Muslim man who allegedly sought the mid-air explosion of Northwest Airlines Flight 253 on Christmas, could have found his motivations for carrying out the attack almost anywhere.

Mr. Abdulmutallab, who Al Qaeda in Yemen says was working at their behest, could have found exhortations to violent jihad on the Internet, which is filled with chat rooms and websites praising suicide bombers; in mosque-based discussion groups in London, where he attended school for four years and where a small coterie of militant preachers still whisper into young ears excited about joining a glorious cause; or from a preacher in his home country of Nigeria.

But inspiration is one thing. The explosives and jerry-rigged detonator with which he allegedly tried to kill himself and all 288 passengers and crew aboard the flight from Amsterdam to Detroit are harder to come by. Now, investigators are focusing on where and how he obtained the wherewithal to attempt his attack, and all early signs are pointing to Yemen.

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