AP sources: Al-Qaida link in failed Detroit plane attack
(AP) - A Northwest Airlines passenger from Nigeria, whosaid he was acting on al-Qaida's instructions, set off an explosivedevice Friday in a failed terrorist attack on the plane as it waslanding in Detroit, federal officials said.
Flight 253 with 278 passengers aboard was 20 minutes from theairport when it sounded like a firecracker had exploded, witnessessaid. One passenger jumped over others and tried to subdue the man.Shortly afterward, the suspect was taken to a front row seat withhis pants cut off and his legs burned.
The White House said it believed it was an attempted act ofterrorism and stricter security measures were quickly imposed onairline travel, but were not specified.
Law enforcement officials identified the suspect as Umar FaroukAbdul Mutallab. Others had slightly different spellings.
One law enforcement source said the man claimed to have beeninstructed by al-Qaida to detonate the plane over U.S. soil.
"It sounded like a firecracker in a pillowcase," said PeterSmith, a passenger from the Netherlands. "First there was a pop,and then (there) was smoke."
Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., ranking GOP member of the HouseHomeland Security Committee, said the flight began in Nigeria andwent through Amsterdam en route to Detroit.
A statement Delta, which acquired Northwest, said, "Uponapproach to Detroit, a passenger caused a disturbance onboardNorthwest Airlines Flight 253. The passenger was subduedimmediately and the crew requested that law enforcement meet theflight upon arrival.
"The flight, operated by Northwest using an Airbus 330-300aircraft with 278 passengers onboard, landed safely. The passengerwas taken into custody and questioned by law enforcementauthorities."