INTERNATIONAL. The alleged terrorist behind the Christmas Day airliner plot is said to have told US agents there are more people "just like him" ready to carry out future attacks.
An al Qaida group based in Yemen claimed responsibility for the failed attempt to bring down Northwest Airlines Flight 253 over Detroit as US president Barack Obama pledged to hunt down the plotters.
Meanwhile, photographs showing the underpants filled with explosives worn by alleged bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab were broadcast by ABC News and circulated by TV networks around the world.
The American government pictures show the singed underwear with a six-inch packet of a high explosive called PETN sewn into the crotch, the US network reported.
ABC News said Abdulmutallab was carrying about 80g of PETN, more than one-and-a-half times the amount carried by "shoe bomber" Richard Reid in 2001 and enough to blow a hole in the side of an aircraft.
Abdulmutallab has reportedly told FBI agents he is one of many would-be terrorists in Yemen ready to carry out attacks in the near future.
Al Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, an alliance of militants based in Yemen, said the action was retaliation for a US operation against the group in Yemen.
The group said in an internet statement that the failed attack exposed the "large myth" of American and international security services and claimed only a "technical error" had prevented the bomb from detonating.
Obama broke off his family holiday in Hawaii on Monday to announce he had launched reviews into airport security and the monitoring of suspected terrorists.
In his first public comments on the incident, he said: "A full investigation has been launched into this attempted act of terrorism and we will not rest until we have found all those responsible."
Yemen's Foreign Minister Abubakr al-Qirbi said on Tuesday there could be up to 300 al Qaeda militants in his country, some of whom may be planning attacks on Western targets.
"Of course there are a number of al Qaeda operatives in Yemen and some of their leaders. We realize this danger," he told BBC radio.
"And they may actually plan for attacks like the one we have just had in Detroit."
Asked to specify the exact number of al Qaeda operatives, Qirbi replied: "I can't give you really an exact figure. There are maybe hundreds of them: 200, 300 -- I don't have real (hard) figures."
Qirbi called for proper intelligence-sharing to stop al Qaeda suspects from traveling to Yemen from countries known to be hotbeds of militancy such as Afghanistan and Iraq.
He appealed for more help from the international community to train and equip counter-terrorist forces to neutralize them.
"We have to work in a very joint fashion in partnership to combat terrorism," he said. "If we do that, the problem will be brought under control.
The United States, Britain and the European Union could do much more to improve Yemen's response to counter the threat, he said. "There is some support that is coming, but I must say it is inadequate."
"We need more training, we have to expand our counter-terrorism units and this means providing them with the necessary military equipment and ways of transportation; we are very short of helicopters."