Scroll for updates
Photo via CNN:
A Christmas miracle in the skies over Detroit.
ROMULUS, Mich. (AP) — An attempted terrorist attack on a Christmas Day flight began with a pop and a puff of smoke — sending passengers scrambling to subdue a Nigerian man who claimed to be acting on orders from al-Qaeda to blow up the airliner, officials and travelers said.The commotion began as Northwest Airlines Flight 253, carrying 278 passengers and 11 crewmembers from Amsterdam, prepared to land in Detroit just before noon Friday.
“It sounded like a firecracker in a pillowcase,” said Peter Smith, a passenger from the Netherlands. “First there was a pop, and then (there) was smoke.”
Smith said one passenger climbed over other people, went across the aisle and tried to restrain the man, who officials say was trying to ignite an explosive device. The heroic passenger appeared to have been burned.
Afterward, the suspect was taken to a front-row seat with his pants cut off and his legs burned. Multiple law enforcement officials also said the man appeared badly burned on his legs, indicating the explosive was strapped there. The components were apparently mixed in-flight and included a powdery substance, multiple law enforcement and counterterrorism officials said.
Multiple law enforcement officials identified the suspect in Friday’s attempted attack as Umar Farouk Abdul Mutallab. He was described as Nigerian.
One law enforcement official said the man claimed to have been instructed by al-Qaeda 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.
I guess Abdul Mutallab didn’t get the memo that we are supposed to be loved in the Middle East now that the evil cowboy is back in Texas.
Update: ABC News is reporting that the plot was launched by Al-Qaeda in Yemen.
The plot to blow up an American passenger jet over Detroit was organized and launched by al-Qaeda leaders in Yemen who apparently sewed bomb materials into the suspect’s underwear before sending him on his mission, federal authorities tell ABC News.
Investigators say the suspect had more than 80 grams of PETN, a compound related to nitro-glycerin used by the military. The so-called shoe bomber, Richard Reid, had only about 50 grams kin his failed attempt in 2001 to blow up a U.S.-bound jet. Yesterday’s bomb failed because the detonator may have been too mall or was not in “proper contact” with the explosive material, investigators told ABC News.