FBI grills Nigerian national

Explosives on plane: Attempted act of terrorism, says White House

FBI grills Nigerian national


A police officer is seen outside Mansfield Street, central London, where the police searched an apartment on Saturday. The search was reportedly in connection with the attempted terrorist attack on a Northwestern Airline flight at Detroit on Friday. AP

The 23-year-old man, identified as Umar Farouk Abdul Mutallab, said the device was “more incendiary than explosive,” and that he had tried to ignite the device or mixture to cause a fire as the plane was approaching Detroit, a senior official from the Department of Homeland Security was quoted as saying by ‘The New York Times.’ The device, however, failed to fully detonate.

He was being questioned by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on how he managed to breach the tight security and sneak in explosive inside the plane.
Initial report said Mutallab, who has revealed about his al-Qaeda links, was put on the watch list by the US but was not debarred from entering the country.

ABC News and NBC News reported that he is an engineering student at the University College of London.

“Mutallab has told federal investigators that he had ties to al-Qaeda and travelled to Yemen to collect the incendiary device and instructions on how to use it,” according to a federal counterterrorism official, ‘The Washington Post’ said.

However, the official expressed caution about the claim, saying “it may have been aspirational,” ‘The New York Times’ said.

“Federal authorities have been told that Mutallab allegedly had taped some material to his leg, then used a chemical-laden syringe to mix with the powder while on board the airplane,” an official was quoted as saying by ‘The Post.’

“Officials described the device as incendiary rather than explosive, pending tests by forensics experts at the FBI. Incendiary devices generally deliver less of an impact than explosive devices,” ‘The Post’ said.

Federal officials said the man wanted to bring the plane down. “This was the real deal,” Congressman Peter T King of New York told ‘The New York Times.’

The White House has termed the incident as an “attempted act of terrorism” while the US national security agencies say it as an “attempt to blow up the plane”.

Meanwhile, according to a media report, the man is “talking a lot” to the FBI.

The initial impression is that the suspect was acting alone in the incident, which set off a major security alert, and did not have any formal connections to organised terrorist groups, CNN said citing a senior official who is familiar with the investigations.

Measures

President Barack Obama, who is spending holidays in Hawaii, has ordered “that all appropriate measures be taken to increase security for air travel,” White House spokesman Bill Burton said. The president made no changes to his schedule, Burton said.
The Department of Homeland Security issued a statement on Friday saying that air passengers “may notice additional screening measures put into place to ensure the safety of the traveling public on domestic and international flights.”

‘CNN’ cited sources as saying the suspect flew into Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam on a KLM flight from Lagos, Nigeria, and is not believed to be on any “no fly” list, although his name does appear in a US database of people with suspect connections. He did not undergo secondary security screening in Amsterdam, an official said adding there was no evidence that Abdulmutallab was a hard-core, trained member of al-Qaeda.

The Nigerian national, however, claimed to have extremist ties and said the explosive device “was acquired in Yemen along with instructions as to when it should be used,” CNN said citing a federal security bulletin.

The remains of the device used are being sent to an FBI explosives lab in Quantico, Virginia, for analysis.

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