A Tennessee man accused of killing a soldier outside a Little Rock, Ark., military recruiting station last year has asked a judge to change his plea to guilty, claiming for the first time that he is affiliated with a Yemen-based affiliate of Al Qaeda.

In a letter to the judge presiding over his case, the accused killer, Abdulhakim Muhammad, calls himself a soldier in Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and calls the shooting “a Jihadi Attack” in retribution for the killing of Muslims by American troops…

It remains unclear whether Mr. Muhammad really has ties to Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, which President Obama has said is behind the attempted Christmas Day bombing of an American plane by a Nigerian man.

But if evidence emerges that his claim is true, it will give the June 1, 2009, shooting in Little Rock new significance at a time when Yemen is being more closely scrutinized as a source of terrorist plots against the United States.