KANEOHE, Hawaii — US President Barack Obama on Monday vowed an all-out pursuit of plotters of a failed Christmas Day bombing of a US-bound airliner, vowing "we will not rest" until they are captured and tried.
"A full investigation has been launched into this attempted act of terrorism and we will not rest until we find all who were involved and hold them accountable," Obama said in his first direct public comment since a 23-year-old Nigerian allegedly tried to blow up Northwest Airlines Flight 253 as it approached Detroit.
"This was a serious reminder of the dangers that we face and the nature of those who threaten our homeland," he said.
The president, vacationing in Hawaii with his family, also committed to the broader fight against terror groups across parts of the Middle East, Asia and Africa.
US authorities have detained Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab and charged him with trying to destroy an aircraft, but Obama made it clear the United States was looking beyond the young Nigerian, to known terror cells.
"We do not yet have all the answers about this latest attempt, but those who would slaughter innocent men, women and children must know that the United States will do more than simply strengthen our defenses.
"We will continue to use every element of our national power to disrupt, to dismantle and defeat the violent extremists who threaten us -- whether they are from Afghanistan or Pakistan, Yemen or Somalia or anywhere where they are plotting attacks against the US homeland," he said.
Al-Qaeda -- not mentioned specifically in Obama's Monday address -- claimed responsibility for the failed December 25 bombing by their "Nigerian brother," in a statement picked up by US monitors Monday, as the jihadists threatened attacks on the West.
Al-Qaeda's Arabian peninsula franchise acknowledged in the Internet posting that a "technical fault" had caused the failure of the plot against Friday's Northwest Airlines flight, SITE Intelligence said.
"His act has dealt a huge blow to the myth of American and global intelligence services and showed how fragile its structure is," it said according to another monitoring group, IntelCenter.
Obama insisted that, "as Americans, we will never give in to fear or division.
"We will be guided by hope, unity and deeply held values. That's who we are as Americans. That's what our brave men and women in uniform are standing up for as they spend the holidays in harm's way, and we will continue to do everything we can to keep America safe in the new year and beyond."
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