UPDATED: 6:00PM (ET) 12/26/09
23 year old suspect, Umar Farouk Abdul Mutallab, has been formally charged with trying to destroy the Northwest jetliner and for bringing the volatile powerful explosive PETN aboard the plane. The suspect's hearing took place earlier today in a makeshift court in a conference room at the University of Michigan Hospital in Ann Arbor, Michigan, where he's being treated for burns.
According to the AP, the suspect's father, a wealthy retired Nigerian banker, had contacted the U.S. Embassy in Abuja, Nigeria this past November to inform authorities that he feared his son had become radicalized, but the information the father provided didn't contain enough specifics to keep his son off the "no-fly-list or place him on the list for additional security checks at the airport."UPDATED: 3:35AM (ET) 12/26/09
Suspect has now been identified as 23-year old Nigerian national Umar Farouk Abdul Mutallab, born December 22, 1986. AP reports a Senior White House spokesperson stated there was "no evidence the suspect was a hard-core trained member of al-Qaeda."
CNN reports that a passenger on Northwest Airlines Flight 253, an Airbus 330, originating from Amsterdam, Netherlands and flying to Detroit, Michigan, ignited a small explosive device that resulted in some minor injuries to one or two passengers, and to the suspect, who was being treated for burns resulting from the incident. The suspect, identified as a Nigerian national, was immediately subdued, according to Susan Elliott, a spokesperson for Delta, the parent company of Northwest.
There were 278 passengers aboard the nine-hour flight from Amsterdam. CNN reports the incident occurred either on approach or on landing in Detroit and that "the White House is calling today's Northwest Airlines incident an attempted terrorist attack."
The National Transportation Authority reports that the suspect was later placed in custody.
According to NBC, the suspect has been identified as 23 year old Abdul Mudallad, who began the flight on KLM Airlines, Thursday from Lagos, Nigeria, and boarded Northwest Flight 253 to Detroit in Amsterdam on Friday.
AP reports "the explosive device was a mix of powder and liquid that failed when the passenger tried to detonate it." AP also states that U.S. officials say the suspect claimed he was "acting on behalf of al-Qaida."
Syed Jafri, a U.S. citizen who was on the plane flying from the United Arab Emirates, told NBC that he was seated three rows behind the passenger and saw a glow and noticed the smell of smoke. Jafri said, "A young man behind me jumped on him [the suspect]. Next thing you know, there was a lot of panic."
The Homeland Security flight alert warning has not been raised since this incident. It remains at the ORANGE level.
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Linda Milazzo was a Managing Editor of Opednews until Fall 2014, and a Los Angeles based writer, educator and activist. Since 1974, she has divided her time between the entertainment industry, government organizations, community development (more...)