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NYT: Yemeni Cleric Admits Meeting Plane Bomber

(CBS/Muhammad ud-Deen)
A radical American-Yemeni cleric being sought in the Arab state for his alleged links to al Qaeda has admitted meeting would-be Nigerian plane bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab in an interview with a Yemeni reporter.

The reporter, Abdulelah Hider Sha'ea, told The New York Times that Awlaki admitted meeting the young man during his suspected training in Yemen under the wings of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).

Special Report: The Christmas Day Terror Attack

"Umar Farouk is one of my students; I had communications with him," Mr. Awlaki can be heard saying on a recording of the interview with Sha'ea played for the Times. "I support what he did, as America supports Israel's killing of Palestinians, and its killing of civilians in Afghanistan and Iraq."

According to the Times report, Awlaki said he had no involvement in the planning or execution of the bomb plot against the Delta flight from Amsterdam to Detroit on Christmas day, but he would not say whether he had advance knowledge of it.

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