New York, December 26 -- A Nigerian man said to be an agent for Al-Qaeda tried to blow up a Northwest Airlines plane, Flight 253, which was preparing to land in Detroit Friday.
The plane had 278 passengers and 11 crew members aboard.
Travelers of Flight 253 smelt smoke and heard popping noises, federal officials reported.
The explosive device was a mix of powder and liquid which failed to get ignited.
Delta Air Lines Inc., which bought Northwest Airlines last year, said there was a lot of disturbance caused by a passenger on the flight.
“The passenger was taken into custody and questioned by law enforcement authorities,” the airline said.
The suspect, identified as Umar Farouk Abdul Mutallab, claims to have been instructed by Al-Qaeda to blow up the domestic flight in U.S.
Umar, 23, was shot in the leg during the scuffle and is currently being treated in a hospital in Ann Arbor., Michigan.
Peter King, senior Republican on the House of Representatives Homeland Security Committee, told Fox News channel, “When it did go off, he himself was seriously injured. He has third-degree burns.”
“My understanding is ... that he does have al-Qaeda connections, certainly extremist terrorist connections, and his name popped up pretty quickly in a search of intelligence data bases,” said King.
Obama notified, to monitor situation constantly
President Obama, who is currently holidaying in Hawaii, was immediately notified of the incident.
Obama will be constantly monitoring the situation as it is believed that the attack was an act of attempted terrorism.
A statement was released by Deputy White House Press Secretary Bill Burton late Friday which said, “The President was notified of the incident this morning between 9:00 and 9:30 Hawaii time by the President's military aide.”
The president subsequently convened a secure conference call with John Brennan, his Homeland Security and Counter-terrorism Adviser, and Denis McDonough, NSS chief of staff.
He asked to arrange a subsequent secure call and in that call instructed that all appropriate measures be taken to increase security for air travel.
“The President is actively monitoring the situation and receiving regular updates. There is currently no change to his schedule,” Burton said.
Passengers will now see increased security for both domestic and international flights across the nation.
The security measures would include sharp screening, more bomb-sniffing dogs, and behavioral-detection specialists at all airports.