Claimed Al-Qaeda Terrorism Attempt on Jet in Detroit Thwarted

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ph2009122501497_150The jet arrived from Amsterdam, not Afghanistan. Let’s not send the Marines into the Netherlands, okay Mr. President?

A passenger aboard a plane at Detroit Metropolitan Airport apparently tried to ignite an explosive device on Friday, an incident the United States believes was “an attempted act of terrorism,” according to a White House official who asked not to be identified discussing the investigation.

     

A Delta spokeswoman said the incident caused a commotion and some minor injuries. The F.B.I. said it was investigating.

The Delta spokeswoman, Susan Elliott, said the passenger was subdued immediately. She had no details on the injuries.

One passenger from the flight was taken to the University of Michigan Medical Center in Ann Arbor, said Tracy Justice, a spokeswoman for the hospital. She did not know the person’s condition, or whether the person was a man or woman.

President Obama, vacationing in Hawaii, was notified about the incident by a military aide. Mr. Obama subsequently held a secure conference call with his top counterterrorism adviser, John Brennan.

The Homeland Security Department said passengers may see additional screening measures on domestic and international flights because of the incident.

News reports varied on what kind of explosive device the passenger had tried to ignite, and none could be confirmed. Ms. Elliott, the Delta spokeswoman, said the passenger had set of firecrackers. The incident occurred as Northwest Airlines Flight 253, an Airbus 330 carrying 278 passengers, was arriving in Detroit from Amsterdam. Delta and Northwest have merged.

Syed Jafri, who was on board the flight after traveling from the United Arab Emirates, said the incident occurred during the plane’s descent. Mr. Jafri said he was seated three rows behind the passenger and said he saw a glow, and noticed a smoke smell. Then, he said, “a young man behind me jumped on him.”

“Next thing you know, there was a lot of panic,” he said.

J.P. Karas, 55, of Wyandotte, Mich., said he was driving down a road near the airport and saw a Delta jet at the end of the runway, surrounded by police cars, an ambulance, a bus and some TV trucks.

“I don’t ever recall seeing a plane on that runway ever before and I pass by there frequently,” he said.

Mr. Karas said it was difficult to tell what was going on, but it looked like the front wheel was off the runway.

Peter Baker of The New York Times contributed reporting for this article from Hawaii, and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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