Friday, December 25, 2009

Nigerian man ignites explosives on Delta flight; Al Qaeda link reported

Fox News reports that a Nigerian man tried to ignite a "powdery substance" on a Northwest Airlines flight from Amsterdam to Detroit today:
A male passenger reportedly linked to terrorist organization al-Qaeda ignited a powdery substance prior to landing on a Delta Airlines flight to Detroit Friday. The suspect is believed to be Nigerian, Fox News reported.

Several people were hurt and one person was admitted to the University of Michigan Medical Center at Ann Arbor, hospital spokeswoman Tracy Justice said. An emergency was declared aboard the flight, operated as Northwest flight 253, according to a Federal Aviation Administration spokesperson.

The suspect, who suffered second-degree burns, told federal investigators he was directed by al-Qaeda, though authorities are questioning the veracity of that statement, ABC reported. A federal situational awareness bulletin noted that the explosive was acquired in Yemen with instructions as to when it should be used, ABC said.

The FBI was on the scene, Detroit office spokeswoman Sandra Berchtold told NewsCore. Berchtold declined to comment on the reports of a terrorist connection.

All 278 passengers on the Airbus A330 wide-body jet, which landed at 11:53 a.m. local time, have since deplaned at Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport, Delta spokesperson Susan Elliott said.

"Out of an abundance of caution, the plane was moved to a remote area where the plane and all baggage are currently being rescreened. A passenger is in custody and passengers are being interviewed," the Transportation Security Administration said in a statement.

It was not immediately clear if the suspect was subdued by crew or passengers.

Airport spokesman Mike Conway referred all questions to the FBI.
MSNBC origially reported the incident as a possible hijacking attempt but quickly retracted and now reports this:
A 23-year-old Nigerian man tried to light a powdery substance aboard a Northwest Airlines flight before landing in Detroit on Friday, a senior U.S. counterterrorism official told NBC News.

Two people noticed the attempt and a third person jumped on the man and subdued him, an airline official told NBC News.

The man is being treated at the burn unit of the University of Michigan Medical Center in Ann Arbor, officials said.
The man told investigators that he wanted to set off a bomb over the United States and claimed to be tied to al-Qaida, counterterrorism officials said.

The man was subdued by the crew of Flight 253 from Amsterdam, one counterterrorism official said. The official said the man left Lagos, Nigeria, on Thursday, then boarded the Northwest flight in Amsterdam on Friday.

Flight 253 was an Airbus 330 carrying 278 passengers. The Transportation Security Administration reported that the plane was taken to a remote area of Detroit Metropolitan Airport and all passengers deplaned and were rescreened along with all the luggage on the flight. In addition, all passengers were interviewed, a TSA statement said.
Michelle Malkin points out the similarity to shoe bomber Richard Reid. 

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