Ibrahim al-Asiri first took a dangerous path toward radicalization after the United States' invasion of Iraq. As a youth, he was raised in a largely middle class household in Saudi Arabia and was a regular kid, according to relatives. After the death of a sibling in a car accident, both Ibrahim and his brother Abdullah turned to radical Islam.
"It was after that that they started swapping videotapes and cassettes on the Mujahedeen in Chechnya and Afghanistan, and they became at times distant," a sister told CNN.
Asiri was studying chemistry in Riyadh, learning expertise that would later serve him in his capacity as AQAP's chief bombmaker when the Iraq War began. He dropped out of school.
Inspired by the mujahedeen who had fought the Soviets in Afghanistan, Ibrahim attempted to join the thousands of Arab youth who went to Iraq to fight American troops after the U.S. invasion. He was arrested along the way.
After spending nine months in prison, which only served to further radicalize him, he was released. After rejoining an al-Qeada terror cell inside Saudi Arabia, he fled to Yemen with his brother during a Saudi crackdown.
As a bombmaker, Asiri has been linked to the 2009 failed Christmas Day bombing by "underwear bomber" Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab and the foiled 2010 cargo plane bomb plots. A 2009 attempt to assassinate Saudi Prince Muhammad bin Nayef by inserting a bomb into Asiri's brother's rectum to avoid discovery failed. The attack killed his brother but only slightly injured Nayef, who was in charge of the kingdom's counterterrorism efforts.