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AQAP bombmaker Ibrahim Hassan al-Asiri emerges as key Yemen suspect

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That makes Asiri a crucial target for the Saudis, the Yemeni government, and the United States, which has grown increasingly alarmed at evidence that a self-contained and competent offshoot of the original Al Qaeda is now flourishing in Yemen's lawless tribal regions.

Asiri appears to be the "getting things done guy" and if so, his arrest or assassination is probably now at the top of the US's target list, above even Yemeni-American cleric Anwar al-Awlaki. While Mr. Awlaki, charged by Yemen on Tuesday with inciting violence against foreigners, is also a target, the fiery preacher is more of an ideologue than an operative.

Asiri's family members say he vanished from Saudi Arabia about three years ago. His father told the Saudi press that he didn't know what had become of his son until he was named to the Saudi government's most wanted list in February 2009. Apparently, he'd fled to Yemen, where many Saudi Al Qaeda operatives have been chased by the Saudi security services since 9/11, largely quelling a wave of Al Qaeda inspired attacks that had many international analysts worried about the stability of the Kingdom in the first half of the last decade.

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