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Christmas Day Terror: Man Ignites Explosives on NW Flight 253 from Amsterdam to Detroit

This is just coming down tonight. A Nigerian man who says he was working for Al Qaeda tried to blow up Northwest flight 253 from Amsterdam to Detroit. Here's the story from the AP:

A Northwest Airlines passenger from Nigeria, who said he was acting on al-Qaida's instructions, set off an explosive device Friday in a failed terrorist attack on the plane as it was landing in Detroit, federal officials said.

Flight 253 with 278 passengers aboard was 20 minutes from the airport when it sounded like a firecracker had exploded, witnesses said. One passenger jumped over others and tried to subdue the man. Shortly afterward, the suspect was taken to a front row seat with his pants cut off and his legs burned.

The White House said it believed it was an attempted act of terrorism and stricter security measures were quickly imposed on airline travel, but were not specified.

Law enforcement officials identified the suspect as Umar Farouk Abdul Mutallab. Others had slightly different spellings.

One law enforcement source said the man claimed to have been instructed by al-Qaida to detonate the plane over U.S. soil.

What is particularly freaky is that my dad was on this same flight only eight days ago on a return business trip to Moscow that connected in Amsterdam.

I'm collecting more information right now.

Update: In a report in the Detroit Free Press, Syed Jafry, who was seating three seats in front of the suspect, said that he heard a pop before the device ignited. Also, passengers were the ones who subdued and detained the suspect:

Syed Jafry of Holland, Ohio, who had flown from the United Arab Emirates, said after emerging from the airport that people ran out of their seats to tackle the man.

Jafry was sitting in the 16th row -- three rows behind the passenger -- when he heard "a pop and saw some smoke and fire." Then, he said, "a young man behind me jumped on him."

Jafry said there was a little bit of commotion for about 10 to 15 minutes. The incident occurred during the plane's descent, he said.

He said the way passengers responded made him proud to be an American.

Update II: Belmont Club has a lot of information, too.

Update III: This newest attempted terrorist attack has lit a fire in the belly of an Islamic leader in Detroit, who called for Muslims to cooperate with law enforcement so they can "'stop these maniacs -- who in the name of religion -- pursue these political goals'":

A local Islamic leader said he was disturbed by today's attempted terrorist attack in Detroit and called for Muslims to work with law enforcement to fight terrorism.

"We want to do everything we can to make sure this doesn't happen," said Victor Begg, of Bloomfield Hills, head of the Council of Islamic Organizations of Michigan. "We want to be on the front lines to help law enforcement."

...Begg and the council helped organize an event today where Muslims and Jews worked together to help the needy in metro Detroit on Christmas Day.

"It's really depressing," Begg said of the incident today on the plane. "It sets back all the work we do."

Update IV: The Hill, via Ed Morrissey, reports that his sources tell him that the suspect "was on a list 'indicating significant terrorist connections.'"

As an aside, if you are at all familiar with the Detroit airport, you will know that one of the main traffic routes airplanes take on final go right over a number of neighborhoods and then over I-94. I've driven by the airport a number of times and what makes it so cool is that the planes look so close when they come in for landing that it seems as if you could open your window and reach out and touch them. It's enthralling to see. If this guy had succeeded in blowing up the plane, many people on the ground could have been killed.


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Comments (33)

Couple of comments:<p... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

Couple of comments:

It's situations like this that are the reason I no longer fly anywhere. I trust TSA like I trust Barry Obama. When the TSA starts screening like El Al, I'll start flying again. And for those 'offended' by El Al's screening practices......WALK.

My guess is the terrorists are too freaking stupid and aren't paying attention to the news. How many times have passengers already taken things into their own hands? Let's face it, they aren't taking this crap any more, and it's a damned good way to get yourself beaten to death.

Finally, they should take this bastard out in the parking lot, shove some C-4 up his ass AND LIGHT IT!

Maybe the guy got on the wr... (Below threshold)
Cubs_Fan:

Maybe the guy got on the wrong flight, and when he realized he was headed to Detroit, said to himself "screw that... I'm going out on my own terms!".

We can all rest easy. NEWS... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

We can all rest easy. NEWS FLASH!

"The president is actively monitoring the situation and receiving regular updates. There is currently no change to his schedule,"

Too bad someone wasn't "monitoring" passengers getting on that plane in the first place.

"A Nigerian man who says... (Below threshold)
Steev Greeen:

"A Nigerian man who says he was working for Al Qaeda tried to blow up Northwest flight 253 from Amsterdam to Detroit. Law enforcement officials identified the suspect as Umar Farouk Abdul Mutallab. Others had slightly different spellings."

Working for Al Quaeda? He must be in it for the retirement plan?

Identified as "Umar Getoffi Farouk Hassan Abdul Rathman Mutallab Insane", or' "Looks kinda muslim", But that would be profiling and We all know that's far worse than the benign tactic of blowing bodies to bits at mach .7 and 40,000 feet.

Sorry Steve and Merry Hanna... (Below threshold)
914:

Sorry Steve and Merry Hannakuh?

Wow, what is freaky for me ... (Below threshold)
hey:

Wow, what is freaky for me is that my father is a NWA captain and this is his exact main route. He just happened to be off this Christmas, but he flies that exact same plane and route all the time.

BTW, he also he was the captain on the last US airliner to land on 9/11, being over the Atlantic ocean when he first got word. They were told there might be terrorists on-board and to lock the door and not let even a stewardess in.

And one more, in the mid to late 90's he flew the Tokyo/Asian route and his plane was one of the ones targeted in the terrorist plot (that never actually ended up happening ) to blow up 11 US airliners on one day.

anyway..wow, glad it failed today.


By the way, what pray tell ... (Below threshold)
914:

By the way, what pray tell do the Al Quaeda Jazeera Queeras get paid a week these days? Sanskrit sandwiches and three toga camel humpings every other week?

Someday a competent muslim ... (Below threshold)
TexBob:

Someday a competent muslim terrorist will succeed in killing hundreds or thousands of people on Barry's watch.

Barry and Rahm will find a way to exploit the tragedy for political gain or some power play.

Mark my words.

Yes sadly it is inevitable ... (Below threshold)
914:

Yes sadly it is inevitable TexBob. It is also inevitable that Bush's name will be evoked as a kneejerk reaction on that day.

So how does a man named Uma... (Below threshold)
John S:

So how does a man named Umar Farouk Abdul Mutallab carry high explosives onto a passenger airplane? Oh yes, the Euroweenies were too busy doing an anal cavity search of a 82-year old white grandmother named Mildred. We mustn't do any profiling. Someone might have their feelings hurt.

Well, as we know the TSA sc... (Below threshold)
Nancy's Nazi:

Well, as we know the TSA screening ops manual was released on the internet. I've got a feeling we'll see more of this soon enough.

Thanks govt. morons.

Get the hell muslim people ... (Below threshold)
Joe Crab:

Get the hell muslim people religious out of North and South America! Ban all muslim to enter N/S America soil!

"Someday a competent muslim... (Below threshold)
Ryan:

"Someday a competent muslim terrorist will succeed in killing hundreds or thousands of people on Barry's watch."

"Barry and Rahm will find a way to exploit the tragedy for political gain or some power play."

You mean just like Dubya, probably the dimmest and worst president in American history, winning a second term?

Remember when ryan pretende... (Below threshold)
Greg:

Remember when ryan pretended to be a moderate?

He didn't fool anyone.

"You mean just like Duby... (Below threshold)
914:

"You mean just like Dubya, probably the dimmest and worst president in American history, winning a second term?"

Not to worry Ryan, Barry is the dimmest bulb and Worst President ever and there is'nt no probably about it.. But just like Mr. Peanut the joo hater at #2 on Worst President, He's not getting a 2nd term..

Odds of this being a REAL a... (Below threshold)
Justrand:

Odds of this being a REAL alQueda attack? ZERO.

Odds of it being another "test"...probably pretty good.

Odds of this just being an alQueda wannabe...much higher!

We're failing the "tests", and even though Lord Obama has ascended the throne, new alQueda wannabes are still popping up. WTF?

<a href="http://freep.com/a... (Below threshold)
Will:

http://freep.com/article/20091225/NEWS05/91225027/Attack-angers-Detroit-Islamic-leader
"We could have been on that flight," Begg said. "These guys kill indiscriminately."
Begg said that he and family members have taken Northwest flights from Amsterdam to Detroit.
The outrage always seems to be more at when, where, and who is targeted; rather than the belief in violent Jihad.



TSA does not run security ... (Below threshold)
hcddbz:

TSA does not run security at Amsterdam airports.
Hopefully this will prompt them to take things more seriously.

"TSA does not run security ... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

"TSA does not run security at Amsterdam airports.
Hopefully this will prompt them to take things more seriously."

They evidently don't do such a hot job at US airports either.

The Communist News Network ... (Below threshold)
Stan25:

The Communist News Network won't even say his name. Even after Fox and CBS broadcast it all day. This is supposed to be a major media outlet for the American people? They wouldn't even let Peter King say it and King is the ranking member of the Homeland Security Committee.

GrandFan,... (Below threshold)
hcddbz:

GrandFan,

They evidently don't do such a hot job at US airports either.
No arguments there, but this flight originated outside the USA.

We only addressed the issues with Airport screening in the USA at the surface level. Instead of a focus on training and better methodology to ensure flight safety the focus was on getting the screening jobs to become a federal union. Year after year the test done against TSA stations prove that we are not any safer with the TSA jobs being part of the Federal Government. Some US airports require you take off shoes other do not. Some airports have automated body search using jets of air other still just us metal detectors. Which method works best which methods do better at finding issues? This process should be iterative with lessons learned being used make new standards and training.

Likewise if we bitch about the TSA where they have no jurisdiction we are not looking at the issue.
How do we ensure all flights with the US as destination get the same screening standards?
Would current TSA screening have found this device? If not, what changes are needed? What will the cost be?
What methods are being used overseas which should incorporated into general standards?

As someone who travels a fair amount am not great lover of the TSA but I also know that traveling from other countries I am not dealing with them.

I highly doubt any consensu... (Below threshold)
bryanD:

I highly doubt any consensual history between the Nigerian character of the story and AlQaeda. Black Africa still has a hard time with coin slots. Something about One.At.A.Time!

"They [CNN] wouldn't even let Peter King say it and King is the ranking member of the Homeland Security Committee."
20. Posted by Stan25

There's an office pool at CNN HQ Atlanta whether Peter King, if weaned gradually off the spectrum, will turn into a pumpkin all at once, or by gradually turning orange or sprouting a stem from his head.

Testing the theory over Christmas weekend would result in a payday Monday for some either way.

Obama can't stop people fro... (Below threshold)
jim m:

Obama can't stop people from crashing his parties, do you really think that he's doing anything to stop them from crashing our planes?

The ticket taker said "you ... (Below threshold)
Neo:

The ticket taker said "you can't board without a passport". But he did.

http://connect.mlive.com/user/KurtHaskell/index.html

Thinks everyone should fly ... (Below threshold)
GianiD:

Thinks everyone should fly with bacon, sausage, or ribs from now on.

This guy's from Nigeria? I... (Below threshold)
James H:

This guy's from Nigeria? I have his bail money right here. Unfortunately, it's in a secure account, and I need somebody from Nigeria to send over a processing fee of $200.00 (two hundred dollars) so the bank will release the funds .....

This was also posted on the... (Below threshold)
Marc:

This was also posted on the latest post related to this issue.

If this report via a Nigerian newspaper is correct the right person should have been this jihadist cut throats father who claims to have let U.S. authorities know about his son six months ago.

The young man, who yesterday night attempted to ignite an explosive device aboard a Delta Airlines flight from Amsterdam to Detroit, Michigan in the United States has been identified as Abdul Farouk Umar Abdulmutallab, a 23-year-old son of Alhaji Umaru Mutallab, former First Bank chairman. Mutallab, a former minister and prominent banker recently retired from the Bank's board.
The older Mutallab, as at the time of filing this report, had just left his Katsina hometown for Abuja to speak with security agencies, family sources say. According to the family members, Mutallab has been uncomfortable with the boy's extreme religious views and had six months ago reported his activities to United States' Embassy, Abuja and Nigerian security agencies.
[......]
At the secondary school, he was known for preaching about Islam to his school mates and he was popularly called "Alfa", a local coinage for Islamic scholar. After his secondary school, the suspect went to University College London to study engineering and later relocated to Egypt, and then Dubai. While in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, he declared to his family members that he did not want to have anything to do with any of them again.


Time Magazine has this report also, Nigeria Banker Fears Son is Plane Attacker

bryanD "I highly doubt... (Below threshold)
Marc:

bryanD "I highly doubt any consensual history between the Nigerian character of the story and AlQaeda. Black Africa still has a hard time with coin slots. Something about One.At.A.Time!"

If any of the authors here, or many of it's many commentors had said that the cries of racism would have been heard around the friggin' world.

Asshole.

And sadly misinformed. Here are a few of the headlines of the last year or so:

"Ethiopia accuses Qatar of terrorist funding and severs ties ..."


18 Dec., 2009 "3 African men flown to U.S. for trial linked to terrorism, drugs"

"Algeria, US discuss closer ties in fight against terrorism ... In a meeting with the heads of security authorities in African Sahel states ..."

"The US takes the threat of terror attacks coming from East Africa so seriously that shortly after the 9/11 attacks in 2001, it set up an anti-terror task ...:

Marcbryan d is a r... (Below threshold)
Greg:

Marc

bryan d is a racist.

"He said the way passengers... (Below threshold)
BluesHarper:

"He said the way passengers responded made him proud to be an American." - unlike the President and First Lady.

"Marcbryan ... (Below threshold)
914:

"Marc

bryan d is a racist"

..... Not exactly Drudge breaking material? But thank's for clarifying the obvious!

How do you think who benefi... (Below threshold)
Mikhail:

How do you think who benefited from this act? Maybe TSA, getting much more money of US taxpayers for security measures? People, think what you are doing. I am neither muslim, nor American, but it seems to me that after 9/11 this country lost its most value - freedom. "Due to security reasons" they can trace your e-mails, listen to your phone conversations, now check your anal cavity in the airport??? How long will you allow those bastards from security monopolies to flout on you and get paid by your tax $$$?????

3. Anyone experience anythi... (Below threshold)
kiramatalishah:

3. Anyone experience anything about the easy google profit kit? I discovered a lot of advertisements around it. I also found a site that is supposedly a review of the program, but the whole thing seems kind of sketchy to me. However, the cost is low so I'm going to go ahead and try it out, unless any of you have experience with this system first hand?


www.onlineuniversalwork.com




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