Suspect For Attempted Bombing Linked To Al-Qaeda

December 26, 2009 12:00:00 AM PST
New details are emerging about the terror suspect arrested after a failed explosion in a plane. The mistake that kept it from working, the new security measures at the airport where he took off for the US, and the warning that came six months ago.

CNN got an exclusive picture from inside the plane as the suspect was arrested.

He had his first court hearing Saturday, inside the hospital where he was being treated for burns.

The US Justice Department has charged a Nigerian man with attempting to blow up Northwest Flight 253.

At airports across the country, passengers waited in long lines as authorities stepped up security.

Authorities now believe the suspect, a Nigerian man, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab did not act alone when he allegedly tried to ignite an explosive taped to his leg.

"We heard a loud POP, then a bit of a smoke, then some flames, then yelling and screaming," said Illiana Schilke, a passenger on flight 253.

Federal authorities tell ABC News the plot was organized and launched by al- Qaeda leaders in Yemen who apparently sewed high explosive bomb materials into the suspect's underwear before sending him on his mission.

Investigators say the bomb failed because the detonator may have been too small or was not in proper contact with the explosive material.

According to authorities Abdulmutallab claims to have made contact over the internet with a radical man in Yemen who connected him with local al-Qaeda leaders. Officials in London, searched a number of apartments looking for computers, hard drives and other materials that might shed light on the suspect's social network.

Investigators are also trying to figure out Abdulmuallab's recent travel, trying to verify his claim that his attempted bombing was on behalf of al-Qaida.

"So what you're going to want to do is time line his last 24 to 48 hours? Who has he talked to, where has he been? Where did he get the substance?" said Brad Garrett ABC News Consultant

Published reports in Nigeria say Abdulmutallab's father contacted the US embassy six months ago to express concerns that his son had become radicalized and could pose threat to the United States

The Transportation Security Administration is announcing security measures at all airports especially for international flights.


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