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Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, shown in this December photo, was added to one of Britain's security watch lists after his visa application was denied. ((U.S. Marshal's Service Photo/AP))

A wing of al-Qaeda has claimed it was behind the attempt to blow up a Christmas Day transatlantic flight, saying it was in retaliation for U.S. attacks in Yemen.

On an Islamist website, Al-Qaeda in Arabian Peninsula, which is based in Saudi Arabia and Yemen, named 23-year-old Nigerian Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab and said he co-ordinated with members of the group. They also said the explosives he carried on the Northwest Airlines flight were made by al-Qaeda members.

The group said it provided the Nigerian suspect with a "technically advanced device," but it failed to detonate because of a technical fault, Reuters reported.

Yemeni forces, helped by U.S. intelligence, carried out two airstrikes against al-Qaeda operatives in the country this month.

The second one was a day before the attempted bombing of the plane as it was about to land in Detroit.

Meanwhile, Britain's home secretary confirmed Monday that Abdulmutallab had been added to one of Britain’s security watch lists.

Alan Johnson said Abdulmutallab was added to the list after his visa application was denied 14 months ago, when officials suspected the school he applied to was not genuine.

Abdulmutallab received a degree in engineering and business finance from University College London last year and later applied to re-enter Britain to study at another institution.

Johnson said there are different security watch lists. The list Abdulmutallab was on meant he could transit through Britain but not enter the country.

"If you are on our watch list, then you do not come into this country," Johnson said. "You can come through this country if you are in transit to another country, but you cannot come into this country."

The U.S. government said Abdulmutallab had also been on a broad watch list that includes more than 500,000 names after his father alerted embassy officials in Nigeria in November about his son's religious beliefs.

But U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano has said there was not enough information to put him on a no-fly list, which contains the names of people deemed to be a threat to the security of aircraft or air travellers.

Abdulmutallab is being held in a federal prison in Michigan after suffering burns in the alleged bombing attempt. He is accused of trying to light an explosive device on Northwest Airlines Flight 253 from Amsterdam on Friday.

U.S. authorities have said he claimed to be carrying out an attack on orders from al-Qaeda.

His family released a statement Monday saying the suspect had cut off contact with his relatives.

"From very early childhood, Farouk, to the best of parental monitoring, had never shown any attitude, conduct or association that would give concern," the family's statement read.

"We, along with the whole world, are thankful to almighty God that there were no lives lost in the incident. May God continue to protect us all, amen."

With files from The Associated Press