Reported on: April 27, 2012 13:04 PM
Reported in: National
Washington, Apr 27 (UNB) - Though there is no specific threat, US officials are beefing up security at airports and transportation hubs as a precaution ahead of next week's Osama bin Laden's death anniversary, according to ABC News.
The precautions are based on intelligence reports that al Qaeda is determined to avenge the death of bin Laden, killed by Navy SEALs last May, with a focus on aviation targets.
Of greatest concern to US officials is al Qaeda's Yemeni affiliate, al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), and its master bombmaker, Ibrahim al-Asiri, who has survived repeated U.S. efforts to kill him.
It was al-Asiri, according to US officials, who designed the so-called "underwear bomb" worn byUmar Farouk Abdulmutallab, who tried to bring down Northwest flight 253 from Amsterdam to Detroit on Christmas Day 2009. Abdulmutallab got the bomb past airport security but failed to detonate it successfully aboard the plane.
Officials say al-Asiri also designed the bombs hidden in printers that were shipped from Yemen to Chicago. The bombs were intercepted in Dubai and the U.K. after they'd been placed aboard cargo planes.
In a joint intelligence bulletin issued overnight, the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security said the Yemen group "intends to advance plots along multiple fronts, including renewed efforts to target Western aviation."
"It doesn't take a great number of people to do the kind of attack that we had on September 11," saidRichard Clarke, an ABC News consultant and former White House counterterrorism official. "That was less than two dozen people and it's clear that they have that number available in places like Yemen today."
Threats of a revenge attack have been monitored by the US ever since last year's raid on bin Laden's compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan.
Among the papers found in his home were repeated references to the importance of attacks timed to coincide with anniversaries.
Said Clarke, "I think the major issue for al Qaeda is to do something, to prove that they're still alive, to do some fairly major event or series of attacks that prove that they're not down, they're not out."
As a result, American law enforcement and White House officials say travelers at airports in the US and Europe should expect to see enhanced security over the next several days.