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Officials Confident US Drone Strike Killed ‘Most Sophisticated Terrorist Bomb Maker on the Planet’

CBS News reports that U.S. officials are now  “confident” that a drone strike in Yemen last year killed al Qaeda’s chief bomb maker, Ibrahim al-Asiri.

The Associated Press had previously reported that a tribal leader had said that al-Asiri had been killed by a drone strike alongside a few of his associates.

Former CIA deputy director Michael Morell told CBS that al-Asiri was, “probably the most sophisticated terrorist bomb maker on the planet. Incredibly creative, incredibly innovative.”

Additionally, Morell said in a Twitter post Monday, the killing of al-Asiri is “the most significant removal of a terrorist from the battlefield since the killing of bin Laden. We are safer because of this US operation.”

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Many Twitter users cheered the news.

It was al-Asiri who was credited for the infamous “underwear” bomb that almost took down a commercial airliner on Christmas in 2009.

Do you feel like Americans are safer after the killing of this terrorist bomb maker?

The plot ultimately failed because a young terrorist, a Nigerian man named Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, failed to properly detonate the bomb he was wearing.

A year later, al-Asiri would attempt another attack by hiding explosive devices in printer cartridges that were being shipped to the United States. Those devices would later be discovered due to a last-minute tip.

Fox News reports that in 2009, al-Asiri even hid explosives in his younger brother’s clothes in an attempt to assassinate Saudi Arabia’s interior minister, Mohammed bin Nayef.

The assassination attempt failed. Al-Asiri’s brother was dead, but bin Nayef only suffered minor injuries.

CBS News reports that up until his death, al-Asiri was working on bombs would fit inside laptop computers and mobile devices. The new explosive devices were being designed to get around airport security measures.

Morell said many of the screening processes implemented by the Transportation Security Administration were put in place because of al-Asiri.

“A good chunk of what you have to take out of your bag and what has to be screened is because of Asiri and his capabilities of putting explosives in very difficult to find places,” he told CBS.

The danger hasn’t passed with al-Asir’s death, however. As CBS points out, he passed his knowledge on to other terrorists.

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