Nigerian al-Qaida Operative Tries to Blow up US Plane, Arrested

A Nigerian, who has claimed to be acting on behalf of dreaded terror outfit al-Qaida, tried to blow up a US airliner when it landed in Detroit on Friday, said reports.

Abdul Mudallad, the Nigerian national, aged 23, tried to detonate a small explosive device as soon as the plane started its approach for landing, said officials. Instantly after the incident, the FBI issued a nationwide red alert.

According to American intelligence officials, the explosive device was a blend of powder and liquid and failed as Mudallad tried to blow it up.

As Mudallad’s attempt failed, another passenger on the fight swiftly subdued and isolated the young Nigerian with the help of cabin crew. As a result of attempt to explode the device, Mudallad suffered burns and two other passengers reported minor injuries.

The incident took place on a Northwest Airlines plane flying from Nigeria to the US. It was coming to Detroit via Amsterdam. The Northwest Flight 253 from Amsterdam landed safely, said the The US Transportation Security Administration.

To ferret out the details of terror plot, security agencies are quizzing the Nigerian national.

Officials said that FBI agents, who suspected the incidence as an attempted act of terrorism, have initiated probe into it. Mudallad was arrested and is being interrogated. During preliminary investigation, he blurted out that he had links with al-Qaida.

US President Barack Obama, who is vacationing in Hawaii, was immediately notified.

“The President was notified of the incident by the President’s military aide,” White House spokesman Bill Burton said in a statement.

Obama subsequently convened a secure conference call with John Brennan, his Homeland Security and Counter-terrorism Adviser, and Denis McDonough, NSS Chief of Staff.

“The president is actively monitoring the situation and receiving regular updates,” the statement read.

“He asked to arrange a subsequent secure call and in that call instructed that all appropriate measures be taken to increase security for air travel,” Burton said.

The Northwest Airlines flight 253, carrying 278 passengers, landed at 11.53 am (local time) at Detroit airport.

As of now there is no change to schedule of Obama, who is spending his year-end vacation in Hawaii.

Meanwhile, Homeland Security said that passengers may notice additional screening measures put into place to ensure the safety of the travelling public on domestic and international flights.

A local news report from Detroit quoted passengers as how they overpowered the Nigerian national when they heard the noise and saw smoke coming out.

US national Syed Jafry, who had flown from the UAE, said that people ran out of their seats to tackle the man.

Jafry told the local FreeP.Com that he 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’.

He told the newspaper that there was a little bit of commotion for about 10 to 15 minutes. The incident occurred during the plane’s descent, he added.

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