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Published: Wednesday, 1/6/2010

Nigerian man indicted in plot to blow up plane

ASSOCIATED PRESS

DETROIT — A grand jury indicted a Nigerian man on Wednesday on charges accusing him of attempting to blow up a Detroit-bound Northwest Airlines plane on Christmas Day by trying to use a weapon of mass destruction.

The federal grand jury also charged Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab with attempted murder, possession of a firearm and other counts.

Authorities say Abdulmutallab, 23, was traveling to Detroit from Amsterdam when he tried to blow up the plane carrying nearly 300 people by injecting chemicals into a package of pentrite explosive concealed in his underwear.

The failed attack caused popping sounds and flames that passengers and crew rushed to extinguish.

Since then, airlines and the Transportation Security Administration have boosted security in airports in the U.S. and around the world.

There is no specific mention of terrorism in the seven-page indictment, but President Barack Obama considers the incident a failed strike against the United States by an affiliate of al-Qaida.

Abdulmutallab has told U.S. investigators he received training and instructions from al-Qaida operatives in Yemen. His father warned the U.S. Embassy in Nigeria that his son had drifted into extremism in the al-Qaida hotbed of Yemen, but that threat was never fully digested by the U.S. security apparatus.

He is currently being held at a federal prison in Milan, Mich. A message seeking comment was left Wednesday with his lawyer, Miriam Siefer.



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