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US: Suspect claims Qaeda links, explosive acquired in Yemen

Source: PTI
Last updated on: December 27, 2009 00:02 IST
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The Nigerian man who allegedly tried to blow up a US plane has told interrogators that the explosive device strapped in his legs was "acquired in Yemen along with instructions for its use".

The Nigerian national, identified as Umar Farouk Abdul Mutallab, 23, is in the custody of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and is subject to intensive questioning, wherein the investigating authorities are trying to confirm his claims.

During interrogation, he claimed to have Al Qaeda ties and said the explosive device "was acquired in Yemen along with instructions as to when it should be used," a federal security bulletin obtained by the CNN said.

"Authorities are yet to verify the claim, and they expect to conduct several more interviews before they determine whether his claims are credible or not," the official was quoted as saying.

Mutallab boarded the plane in Nigeria and was coming to Detroit through Amsterdam.

A senior US official told the CNN that the terror suspect who sustained burn injuries was "talking a lot". He is also being treated in a local Detroit hospital.

Multiple law enforcement officials said the man appeared badly burned on his legs, indicating the explosive was strapped there.

Meanwhile, a passenger Jasper Schuringa told the CNN he was the one who was able to subdue the Nigerian national.

According to him, someone started yelling "Fire! Fire!" and then there was smoke, after which he knew that there was something terribly wrong.

When he noticed that Abdulmutallab was not moving, he grew suspect. He jumped over the passenger next to him and lunged over Abdulmutallab's seat, CNN reported.

Schuringa claimed that he saw Abdulmutallab had his pants open and he was holding a burning object between his legs.

"I pulled the object from him and tried to extinguish the fire with my hands and threw it away," Schuringa said, adding he managed to pull an object tucked between Abdulmutallab's legs.

Schuringa said he screamed for water and heard fire extinguishers as he pulled Abdulmutallab out of his seat and dragged him to the front of the plane.

"Abdulmutallab seemed dazed. He was staring into nothing," he was quoted as saying by the CNN.

Schuringa told the news channel that he stripped off Abdulmutallab's clothes to make sure he did not have other explosives on his body.

A crewmember helped handcuff him.

In the process, he burned his own hand, but said he is fine.
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