The U.S. State Department on Tuesday slapped financial sanctions on leaders of the Yemen-based al-Qaida group that claimed responsibility for the Christmas Day attack on a Detroit-bound airliner.Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton approved sanctions that include a travel ban, assets freeze and arms embargo against Qasim al-Raimi, a top military commander for al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsuala. Raimi, whose name is also spelled al-Rimi, threatened new attacks against America, saying in an online magazine in February that his group "will blow up the earth from below your feet." Also targeted was Nayif al-Qahtani, who manages the group's operations in Yemen and has served as a liaison between the al-Qaida cells in Yemen and Saudi Arabia. The U.S. has become increasingly worried about militants based in Yemen since al-Qaida groups there and in Saudi Arabia merged last year to become AQAP, and began to openly target U.S. and other Western interests in Yemen and abroad. This marks the second time terror leaders in Yemen have been targeted for sanctions. Administration officials decided to target AQAP just 11 days before the failed attempt Dec. 25 to blow up a Detroit-bound airliner by Nigerian Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab. Clinton approved the latest sanctions on April 6, but they took effect Tuesday when they were published in the Federal Register. The State Department action was echoed by the United Nations, which approved similar sanctions Tuesday. That move will require all U.N. members to implement a similar assets freeze, travel ban and arms embargo against both men. State Department sanctions are aimed at individuals who have committed or pose a significant risk of committing acts of terrorism that threaten U.S. national security, foreign policy or the economy. In January, the State Department designated AQAP as a foreign terrorist organization, and approved sanctions on its two senior leaders, Nasir al-Wahishi and Said al-Shihri.