Airports around the world are tightening security for flights to the
United States after a Nigerian man claiming to have links to al-Qaida
tried to ignite an explosive device on a flight from Amsterdam to the
U.S. city of Detroit.
U.S. authorities have asked airlines to take additional security precautions for all U.S.-bound flights.
A White House official called the incident "an attempted act of
terrorism". U.S. President Barack Obama is monitoring the situation
while on vacation in Hawaii. Nigeria has also ordered an investigation
into the incident.
Passengers on the Christmas Day flight say they heard a loud pop and
saw smoke when 23-year-old Umar Farouk Abdul Mutallab unsuccessfully
tried to detonate the explosive before the plane began its descent. He
was immediately restrained by other passengers and crew.
The Northwest Airlines flight (number 253) landed safely at Detroit Metropolitan Airport with its 278 passengers, although some sustained minor injuries.
A White House spokesman (Bill Burton) said Mr. Obama
received a briefing in the morning from his security advisers on the
heightened air travel safety measures being taken.
The suspect was taken into custody after the plane landed and questioned by U.S. authorities.
The man reportedly told investigators that he received training and the
equipment to carry out the attack from Yemen. That claim has not been
Officials say Mutallab was trying to ignite an explosive device that was taped to his leg, and made up of powder and liquid.
He was taken to a hospital Friday for burns he suffered during the incident.
Officials say Mutallab began his trip in Nigeria and that while his
name appears in a U.S. intelligence database, he is reportedly not on
the U.S. government's no-fly list.
A law enforcement briefing cited by ABC News says Mutallab was studying
engineering at a British university. Police in London confirmed that
searches were being conducted in the city.