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Christmas Terrorist Aboard Flight 253 Apprehended in Detroit

December 28, 2009
Location of Abuja in Nigeria
Image via Wikipedia

When will Michigan have good news to report? Well, actually this story has a happy ending for those in Detroit:  the terrorist aboard Flight 253 was stopped by crew and passengers.  The terrorist lit something on fire and was attempting to detonate explosives when he was grabbed by a passenger, put into a headlock and had the explosives removed from his person:

Passenger Jasper Schuringa, in an interview today on ABC’s “Good Morning America,” said he knew something was wrong when terror suspect Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, 23, didn’t move away from the flames as the flight from Amsterdam landed in Detroit.

“He was sitting down,” Schuringa said today. “Then I knew he was trying to ignite something. … When I came to the seat, he was holding the object that was on fire.”

Schuringa said he jumped at Abdulmutallab, stripping from him the object in Abdulmutallab’s hand and the explosives strapped to his leg.

“Somebody came with water but it wasn’t enough,” Schuringa said. “I was really afraid he had more explosives on his body. So I grabbed him and pulled him out of the seat. I had him in a headlock standing up. It took some foam actually to put out the fire.”

Schuringa said that, after stripping Abdulmutallab, he kept the suspect in the headlock and pulled him to first class with a flight attendant carrying Abdulmutallab’s feet.

While this raises fears to a whole new level, what’s incredibly frightening is that the terrorist’s family suspected that Abdulmutallab would attack but got on help when they reported their fears:

Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab’s father talked to Nigerian security agencies two months ago and a month later to foreign security agencies about his concerns that his son had disappeared and ceased contact with the family, the family said in a statement. U.S. authorities said that in November, Abdulmutallab’s father visited the U.S. embassy in Abuja, Nigeria, to discuss his concerns about his son’s religious beliefs.

Abdulmutallab told U.S. officials who arrested him on the Detroit-bound airliner that he had sought extremist training at an Islamist hotbed in Yemen.

The family said the father had gone to authorities to ask them to bring his 23-year-old son home. “We provided them with all the information required of us to enable them do this,” the family statement said, without elaborating.

And yet, even in light of this information, the father’s wishes went unheeded, and his son attempted to blow up a plane on its way to Detroit on Christmas Day:

A U.S. official in Washington said the father’s concerns were shared among those in the embassy, including liaison personnel from other agencies based there, such as the FBI. The alert was then relayed to Washington and again shared among agencies such as the State, Justice and Homeland Security departments, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the investigation.

So what happened between the time of the father’s reports and the son’s attempted atrocities?  Apparently nothing.

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