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US plane attacker talking a lot

By Arun Kumar, IANS,

Washington: A Nigerian man with alleged Al Qaeda links arrested after what was described as “an attempted terrorist attack” on a Northwest Airlines flight from Amsterdam to Detroit is “talking a lot” to the FBI, a media report said.

The initial impression is that the suspect was acting alone in the incident, which set off a major security alert, and did not have any formal connections to organised terrorist groups, CNN said citing a senior official who is familiar with the investigations.

The suspect, identified by a US government official as 23-year-old Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, ignited a small explosive device on Christmas Day Friday, shortly before the flight landed at Detroit Metro Airport in Michigan.

Another passenger, Jasper Schuringa, told CNN that he helped subdue and isolate Abdulmutallab with the aid of the cabin crew.

President Barack Obama, who is spending the holidays in Hawaii, has ordered “that all appropriate measures be taken to increase security for air travel,” White House spokesman Bill Burton said. The president made no changes to his schedule, Burton said.

The Department of Homeland Security issued a statement Friday saying that air passengers “may notice additional screening measures put into place to ensure the safety of the traveling public on domestic and international flights.”

Abdulmutallab was taken into custody and is being treated for second- and third-degree burns on his thighs, according to federal law enforcement and airline security sources cited by the channel.

CNN cited sources as saying the suspect flew into Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam on a KLM flight from Lagos, Nigeria, and is not believed to be on any “no fly” list, although his name does appear in a US database of people with suspect connections.

He did not undergo secondary security screening in Amsterdam, an official said adding there was no evidence that Abdulmutallab was a hard-core, trained member of Al Qaeda.

The Nigerian national, however, claimed to have extremist ties and said the explosive device “was acquired in Yemen along with instructions as to when it should be used,” CNN said citing a federal security bulletin.

The remains of the device used are being sent to an FBI explosives lab in Quantico, Virginia, for analysis.