Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Echoes of 2001 Shoe Bomber in Detroit Attack

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Echoes of 2001 Shoe Bomber in Detroit Attack

Article excerpt

In both cases, passengers and crew subdued the alleged bomber before the explosive material could fully ignite. In the Detroit attack, passengers heard popping noises and saw suspect Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab's pants on fire when they intervened, according to court documents.

If nothing else, the alleged Christmas Day bomber was truthful when

asked a direct question.

Shortly after passengers and crew subdued him and extinguished

flames climbing the wall of Flight 253, a flight attendant asked Umar

Farouk Abdulmutallab what he had in his pocket.

"Explosive device," he told her, according to court documents

filed in the case.

The details are contained in a six-page account of the dramatic

mid-air confrontation on Christmas Day.

Mr. Abdulmutallab, a 23-year-old Nigerian, was arrested and charged

with attempting to set off a bomb aboard a commercial jetliner. The

explosive material was apparently concealed in his underpants.

The incident has raised questions about how he could elude elaborate

US and international security checks. It also sets the stage for a

terrorism trial in US District Court in Detroit.

On Monday, federal prosecutors canceled a scheduled court hearing in

the emerging case against Abdulmutallab. Prosecutors were seeking a

court order to obtain DNA material from him. No explanation for the

request or the delay was given.

Abdulmutallab is next scheduled to appear in court on Jan. 8 for a

bond hearing. He is not expected to be released on bond pending his

trial given the severity of the charges against him, but the hearing

may provide new details about his alleged crime, particularly how the

young Nigerian obtained his make-shift bomb.

Authorities have said he is answering questions, and some reports

say he obtained the high explosive in Yemen.

Case resembles shoe bomberThe criminal case against him will likely

resemble that of attempted shoe bomber Richard Reid.

In both cases, passengers and crew were able to intervene and subdue

the alleged bomber before the concealed explosive material could

fully ignite. Mr. Reid pleaded guilty to attempting to detonate his

shoe bomb while en route from Paris to Miami in 2002. He is serving a

sentence of life without the possibility of parole. …

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