Nigerian passenger tries to blow up US plane

Nigerian passenger tries to blow up US plane


This image made from video shows security personnel dressed in protective clothing on the stairs of the Northwest Airlines Flight 253 on the runway after arriving at Detroit Metropolitan Airport from Amsterdam on Friday, Dec. 25, 2009 in Romulus, Michigan. AP. The Nigerian national identified as Abdul Mudallad, 23, tried to ignite a small explosive device as the plane began its approach for landing yesterday, officials said. The incident has prompted the FBI to issue a nationwide red alert.

The passenger suffered burns as the result of his attempt and two other passengers reported minor injuries, but the plane was able to land safely, the New York Times quoted an anti-terrorism official as saying.

FBI agents have started investigations into the incident on the suspicion that it was an attempted act of terrorism, the official said. The Nigerian national has been arrested and is being questioned. During preliminary investigation, he has conceded about his links with al-Qaeda.

One of the US intelligence officials said the explosive device was a mix of powder and liquid. It failed when the passenger tried to detonate it.
The passenger was being questioned last evening.
Both of the officials spoke on condition of anonymity because the investigation was continuing.
The motive of the Christmas Day attack was not immediately clear.

S Rep Peter King identified the suspect as Abdul Mudallad, a Nigerian. King said the flight began in Nigeria and went through Amsterdam en route to Detroit yesterday.

US President Barack Obama, who is vacationing in Hawaii, was immediately notified.
"The President was notified of the incident by the President's military aide," White House spokesman Bill Burton said in a statement.
Obama subsequently convened a secure conference call with John Brennan, his Homeland Security and Counter-terrorism Adviser, and Denis McDonough, NSS Chief of Staff.
"The president is actively monitoring the situation and receiving regular updates," the statement read.

"He asked to arrange a subsequent secure call and in that call instructed that all appropriate measures be taken to increase security for air travel," Burton said.
The Northwest Airlines flight 253, carrying 278 passengers, landed at 11.53 am (local time) at Detroit airport.
As of now there is no change to schedule of Obama, who is spending his year-end vacation in Hawaii.

Meanwhile, Homeland Security said that passengers may notice additional screening measures put into place to ensure the safety of the travelling public on domestic and international flights.
A local news report from Detroit quoted passengers as how they overpowered the Nigerian national when they heard the noise and saw smoke coming out.

US national Syed Jafry, who had flown from the UAE, said people ran out of their seats to tackle the man.
Jafry told the local FreeP.Com that he was sitting in the 16th row -- three rows behind the passenger -- when he heard "a pop and saw some smoke and fire." Then, he said, "a young man behind me jumped on him."
He told the newspaper that there was a little bit of commotion for about 10 to 15 minutes. The incident occurred during the plane's descent, he added.

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