State Department Labels Top Al Qaeda Bomb Maker a Terrorist

The State Department has designated as a terrorist an Al Qaeda-affiliated bomb maker suspected of plotting to assassinate a Saudi prince and bring down a U.S.-bound airliner in 2009.

Ibrahim Hassan Tali al-Asiri, who already is wanted by the Saudi Arabian government, has a long rap sheet. The chief bomb maker for Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula is suspected of packing explosives into the underwear of a Nigerian who tried to blow up a Michigan-bound airliner on Dec. 25, 2009, and making bombs found on U.S. cargo planes last year.

According to the State Department, he was involved in planning attacks on oil facilities in Saudi Arabia before joining Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. He more recently recruited his younger brother as a suicide bomber in the failed attempt to assassinate a Saudi prince in August 2009.

"Although the assassination attempt failed, the brutality, novelty and sophistication of the plot is illustrative of the threat posed by al-Asiri," the State Department said. "Asiri is credited with designing the remotely detonated device, which contained one pound of explosives concealed inside his brother's body."

The Al Qaeda offshoot group already is considered a terrorist organization, but the move to specifically apply the label to al-Asiri is intended to cut off funding to the terror operative. The designation is meant to block financial transactions between al-Asiri and anyone in the United States as well as block any property subject to U.S. jurisdiction.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.