Plane plot was a ‘terrorist attempt’

15Jan

A incident aboard a US plane Friday involving a passenger who tried to ignite an explosive was “an attempted act of terrorism,” a senior US official told AFP.

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The official, who spoke of condition of anonymity, made the statement hours after the incident unfolded aboard a Northwest Airlines flight from Amsterdam that was about to land in Detroit.

Despite the incident, the Department of Homeland Security’s terror threat level has not been raised, the official said.

“There are additional security measures that can be taken without raising the threat level, which is what is happening now,” the official said.

Susan Elliott, a spokeswoman for Delta, Northwest’s parent company, told AFP that a passenger attempted to light what was initially described as a firecracker.

“The passenger was immediately subdued and Delta is cooperating with authorities in the investigation,” she added.

US Representative Peter King told Fox News that the passenger was a 23-year-old Nigerian who “definitely has terror connections.”

King said the man had attempted to light a “fairly sophisticated device” aboard Northwest Airlines Flight 253, which was carrying 278 passengers and arriving from Amsterdam.

“This could have been catastrophic,” said King, the most senior Republican on the House of Representatives Homeland Security Committee.

President Barack Obama was informed of the incident and held a secure conference call with his national security team, the White House said.

“He asked to arrange a subsequent secure call and… instructed that all appropriate measures be taken to increase security for air travel,” the White House said in a statement.

“The president is actively monitoring the situation and receiving regular updates,” the statement read.

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