Nigerian Attempts To Blow Up American Plane-AP


A Nigerian man who said he was an agent for al-Qaida tried to blow up a Northwest Airlines plane Friday as it was preparing to land in Detroit, but travelers who smelled smoke and heard what sounded like firecrackers rushed to subdue him, the passengers and federal officials said.

Flight 253 with 278 passengers and 11 crew members aboard was about 20 minutes from the airport when passengers heard popping noises, witnesses said. At least one person climbed over others and jumped on the man. Shortly afterward, the suspect was taken to the front of the plane with his pants cut off and his legs burned, a passenger said. Law enforcement officials said the burns indicated the explosive was strapped to his legs.

One U.S. intelligence official said the explosive device was a mix of powder and liquid. It failed when the passenger tried to detonate it.

“It sounded like a firecracker in a pillowcase,” said Peter Smith, a traveler from the Netherlands. “First there was a pop, and then (there) was smoke.”

Smith said a passenger sitting opposite the man climbed over people, went across the aisle and tried to restrain the man. Syed Jafri, another passenger, said he saw a glow and smelled smoke. Then, he said, “a young man behind me jumped on him.”

“Next thing you know, there was a lot of panic,” said Jafri. Smith said the heroic passenger appeared to have been burned.

The White House said it believed it was an attempted act of terrorism and stricter security measures were quickly imposed on airline travel. It did not specify what those were.

The incident was reminiscent of Richard Reid, who tried to destroy a trans-Atlantic flight in 2001 with explosives hidden in his shoes, but was subdued by other passengers. Reid is serving a life sentence.

Law enforcement officials identified the suspect in Friday’s attempted attack as Umar Farouk Abdul Mutallab. One law enforcement official said the man claimed to have been instructed by al-Qaida to detonate the plane over U.S. soil, but other law enforcement officials cautioned that such claims could not be verified immediately, and said the man may have been acting independently — inspired but not specifically trained or ordered by terror groups.

All the officials spoke on condition of anonymity because the investigation was continuing.

Another law enforcement official, also speaking on condition of anonymity in order to discuss the case, said Mutallab’s name had surfaced earlier on at least one U.S. intelligence database, but not to the extent that he was placed on a watch list or a no-fly list.

Mutallab was being questioned Friday evening. An intelligence official said the Nigerian passenger was being held and treated in an Ann Arbor, Mich., hospital. One passenger was taken to the University of Michigan Medical Center in Ann Arbor, hospital spokeswoman Tracy Justice said. She referred all inquiries to the FBI.

The trauma burn center at the hospital said it did not have Abdul Mutallab in its unit.

Flight 253 began in Nigeria and went through Amsterdam en route to Detroit, said Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., the ranking GOP member of the House Homeland Security Committee.

A spokeswoman for police at the Schiphol airport in Amsterdam declined comment about the case or about security procedures at the airport for Flight 253. Schiphol airport, one of Europe’s busiest with a heavy load of transit passengers from Africa and Asia to North America, strictly enforces European security regulations including only allowing small amounts of liquid in hand luggage that must be placed inside clear plastic bags.

A spokesman for the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, Akin Olunkunle, said all passengers and their luggage are screened before boarding international flights. He also said the airport in Lagos cleared a U.S. Transportation Security Administration audit in November.

“We had a pass mark,” spokesman Akin Olukunle said. “We actually are up to standards in all senses.”

There was nothing out of the ordinary about the flight until it was on final approach to Detroit, said Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman Elizabeth Isham Cory. That is when the pilot declared an emergency, she said. The flight landed at 12:01 p.m. EST, she said.

Delta Air Lines Inc., which bought Northwest last year, said that “upon approach to Detroit, a passenger caused a disturbance.” It said the passenger was subdued immediately and the crew asked that law enforcement officials meet the flight.

“The passenger was taken into custody and questioned by law enforcement authorities,” the airline said.

According to the airline, eight flight attendants and three pilots were on board.

Smith said while he was leaving the plane, he looked at where the man had been sitting and saw a pillow that seemed to have been burned. Melinda Dennis, who was seated in the front row of the plane, said the man involved was brought to the front row and seated near her. She said his legs appeared to be badly burned and his pants were cut off. She said he was taken off the plane handcuffed to a stretcher.

President Barack Obama was notified of the incident and discussed it with security officials, the White House said. It said he is monitoring the situation and receiving regular updates from his vacation spot in Hawaii.

Federal officials said there would be heightened security for both domestic and international flights at airports across the country, but the intensified levels would likely be “layered,” differing from location to location depending on alerts, security concerns and other factors.

Passengers can expect to see heightened screening, more bomb-sniffing dog and officer units and behavioral-detection specialists at some airports, but there will also be unspecified less visible precautions as well, officials said.

The FBI and the Homeland Security Department issued an intelligence note on Nov. 20 about the threat picture for the holiday season, which was obtained by The Associated Press. At the time, officials said they had no specific information about attack plans by al-Qaida or other terrorist groups.

In 2003, al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden purportedly marked Nigeria for liberation in a recording posted on the Internet, calling on Muslims in the oil-rich country to rise up against one of the “regimes who are slaves of America.” But links to al-Qaida remained rare, though security forces claimed to break up such a linked terror cell in November 2007.

Delta, which is days away from obtaining a single operating certificate from the FAA to fully integrate itself and Northwest, has been hosting military personnel who have to travel over the holidays in a lounge at the Detroit airport.
SOURCE: ap.org

Tags from the story
al qaeda, america, plane bomb

15 Comments

  • This is just another kind of scandal by americans.i dont believe the trash.since d man was screened at our own airport.it’s just another hatred towards muslims but almighty Allah is a disposer over their affairs

  • this is a disgrace to our country nigeria.For someone to have take an explosive f and was screened at the airport in nigeria and it was not found in him,that means our airport securities are not tight enough.

    • DEBORAH IF YOU ARE TO WORK IN THE AIRPORT AS A SECURITY LADY WHAT EXACTLY WOULD YOU HAVE DONE THAT YOU THINK THE SECURITY OFFICERS HAVE NOT DONE???? PLEASE DO NOT SAY WHAT YOU DO NOT KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT.THANK YOU.

    • What makes you feel it is real. Check this out!

      This same people started a war with Iraq claiming that they have a dangerous weapon with them or so. Please, is there any relationship between America and Iraq?

      The wise one knows what they are looking for. They are only looking for a way to eradicate islam, and that is why they have been attacking countries with muslims.

      They want to colonise Nigeria for a second time so as to gain control over our natural resources.

      Beware! Beware!! Beware!!!

      Osama Bin Laden's case is a clear example. From accusation against a man to accusation against a country.

      • You Muslims always look for reason that you are being singled out, but you people are always the cause. Have you seen a Christian or Hindu etc. with bomb or being linked to terror. I suggest you people should call a spade a spade. Nigerians are known for corruption and now terrorism, where are we heading?

  • {bad)People should be careful the way the ternish the image of Nigeria outside,making people to begin to suspect good Nigerian citizen.cos (bad people) will also fall a victim.

  • NIGERIA UNLIKE THE AMERICA IS HAVING ENEMIES EVERY WHERE WE ALL NEED TO BE WATCHFUL AND BE PRAYERFUL IN ALL WAYS. THE LOVE GOD ALMIGHTY HAVE WHEN HE LOOKED UPON MANKIND AND SAW THAT THERE WAS NO WAY WE COULD GET OUT OF THE BONDAGE SATAN PUT MAN KIND ,GOD ALMIGHTY SHARED HIMSELF WITH MANKIND IN LOVE AND EMPOWERED A MAN WHO WAS BORNED TO THE LINE AGE OF DAVID CALLED JESUS CHRIST , I WITHIN THE CAPACITY OF FAITH IN JESUS CHRIST ERASED ALL NEGATIVE NEWS AGAINST NIGERIA AND AMERICA. I SOLICIT IN FAITH FOR THE LOVE OF CHRIST TO COVER ALL BAD NAMES , BAD IMAGE, AGAINST NIGERIA AND AMERICA. NIGERIAN KEEP COOL AMERICA LOVE YOU LIKEWISE AMERICA KEEP COOL NIGERIA LOVE YOU .

  • HAS THIS YOUNG MAN BORED PLANE WITHOUT PASSING THROUGH SECURITY LIGHT AND THOROUGH SECURITY MEN ON DUTY ? SO HOW COME NIGERIAN ATTEMPT TO BLOW UP USA PLANE ?? THOSE WHO ARE EMBARRASSING NIGERIAN UP AND DOWN ARE YOU SAYING THE SECURITY MEN ON BOARD HAVE NOT DONE THEIR JOB ? WHAT OF THE SECURITY LIGHT ?? WHY HAS THE SECURITY ALARM NOT BLOWN FIRST BEFORE THIS YOUNG MAN BOARD THE PLANE TO SHOW THAT THE YOUNG MAN CARRY DANGEROUS THING?? IF ANYBODY HAVE A HATRED FOR NIGERIA IN DISGUISE HE OR SHE MUST BE CAREFUL LIKEWISE IF ANYBODY HAVE A HATRED FOR AMERICA IN DISGUISE HE OR SHE MUST BE CAREFUL ALSO . ALL THOSE WHO HAVE BEEN HIDING UNDER THE UMBRELLA OF AMERICA AND HATE AMERICA THEN LOOKING FOR HOW AMERICA WILL HATE THIER FRIENDLY NATION LIKE NIGERIA WE KNOW ALL OF YOU .. SO THEY SHOULD BE EXTREMELY CAREFUL NIGERIA AND NIGERIAN LOVE AMERICA NO DOUBT ABOUT THIS ! I WITHIN MY CAPACITY WILL JOIN THE REASONABLE NIGERIAN AND SUPPORT NIGERIA GOVERNMENT TO LOVE UNITED STATE OF AMERICA. EVEN MORE THAN BEFORE . GOD BLESS NIGERIA GOD BLESS AMERICA . IN GOD WE PUT OUR TRUST.

    • all these people here accusing america of trying to convict an innocent man are terrorists and now they ‘re trying to poising the mind of the good ones. PLEASE DO NOT listen to ABDULLAHI and JB2020 the two of them are terrorists and there hatred towards America can easily be seen by there comments they hv proven that they will bomb america if given the chance and there type must be the ones causing the scandal btw Ibos and Hausa here in Nigeria.

  • why cant we just look at things critically before making any comment or contribution. why is it that most comments in favour of the suspect are Muslims. i would love to ask, where there only Americans in that plan? where there no Nigerians as well? if it is all a setup, why cant the nigerian passenger say so. If the suspect has agreed attempting to bomb the plan, why are we wasting time trying to cover up just because he is a nigerian or because he is a Muslim. We should be thinking of contribution towards preventing its occurrence, because probably, who knows someone may next time try to bomb a nigerian plan then people will start arguing about it been true or not just because the suspect is a Muslim or a Christian, then the whole country will start it own fight against one another in the name of protecting the image of one religious group or the other. I'm saying this because every form of riot in this country has ended up being religious not excluding political ones. SO LETS USE OUR HEADS AND STOP USING RELIGION TO COVER UP THINGS (THE TRUTH).

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