The Nigerian who tried to blow up a US plane on Christmas Day was recruited outside Yemen, possibly while studying at UCL in London, a Yemeni official said on Thursday.
"When he went to Britain, it seems that he was recruited by (Islamist) militant groups," deputy prime minister for defence and security affairs Rashad al-Aleemi told told a press conference.
He said that Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab arrived in Yemen "after he had been recruited by Al-Qaeda," he added.
Abdulmutallab, 23, who attempted to blow up a Northwest Airline flight on Christmas Day, had attended Arabic language school in the Yemeni capital of Sanaa in summer 2008 before disappearing in late September.
He studied mechanical engineering at University College London (UCL) between 2005-08, and is believed to have also spent some time in Yemen in 2004.