Friday, January 1, 2010

Rich boy bomber based in Londonistan

Mounting evidence links UK to plane attack in States

HELD: Umar Abdul Mutallab
By Dominic Herbert & Daniel Sanderson, 27/12/2009

THIS is the terrorist who tried to blow up a packed jumbo jet over America being seized by cops.

The dramatic picture above shows Umar Abdul Mutallab moments after Northwest Airlines flight 253 landed safely in Detroit on Christmas Day.

As Scotland Yard yesterday swooped on a £4 million West End flat, US authorities named the 23-year-old as a rich Nigerian banker's son (pictured right) who studied at a London university.

Mutallab, burnt by what experts say was a "new type of explosive device" strapped to his leg, was foiled by hero passenger Jasper Schuringa.

US officials charged Umar Farouk Abdul Mutallab, 23, with attempting to detonate a bomb strapped to his leg - and activated with a syringe of chemicals - on the Airbus 330 flying from Amsterdam.

STUDENT DIGS? Mutallab's £4m London home

Agents last night wheelchaired Mutallab into a conference room at the University of Michigan Medical Center in Ann Arbor - where he is being treated for burns - so he could be read the charges.

Judge Paul Borman asked Mutallab if he understood the charges. He responded in English: "Yes, I do."

READ: British universities are 'hotbed'

US Visa records list Mutallab as a mechanical engineering student from University College London in the city dubbed "Londonistan" by Washington commentators because of repeated links to global terrorism.

Last night it was revealed that Muttallab, who left for Nigeria after his course finished last year had been BANNED from re-entering Britain. He applied for a new student visa for a six-month UK course in May - but was turned down.

Whitehall sources reportedly said the college he had named "may have been bogus". The Christmas Day bomb drama sparked increased airport security worldwide over fears it featured a new type of explosive device that can evade detection.

Meanwhile Scotland Yard anti-terror cops searched what is thought to be the suicide bomber's three-bedroom flat in a smart Westminster mansion.

INJURED: Hero Jasper, pictured yesterday with bandages over burns
The terror attack was only thwarted by the lightning reactions of hero Dutch film director Jasper Schuringa, who wrested the bomb away from the terrorist, saving the plane and 277 fellow passengers from disaster.

Schuringa was sitting in window seat 20J when the drama kicked off 20 minutes before the scheduled midday landing. He said: "Suddenly, we hear a bang - like a firecracker.

READ: Terror capital of the West

"Everybody panicked. Then someone screamed, 'Fire! Fire!' I looked over to my left and saw smoke rising from a seat. . . I didn't hesitate. I just jumped!"

Schuringa dived over four passengers to reach Mutallab, who had a blanket covering his lap. He added: "It was smoking and there were flames coming from beneath his legs. He had his trousers open and something strapped to his legs."

Schuringa ripped the flaming, object - resembling a small, white shampoo bottle - off Mutallab's left thigh and put out the blaze with BARE HANDS. It is believed Mutallab was carrying 80g of Pentaerythritol Tetranitrate, a highly explosive compound generally stored as a mixture in water, and had tried to detonate it using chemicals in a syringe.

Members of the flight crew raced over with fire extinguishers. Then Schuringa dragged Mutallab from his seat. "I took him in a headlock to the first class section. "I don't feel like a hero. It came completely natural. I had to do something," he said.

As the bomber was being manhandled away one woman passenger said he was yelling, swearing and "screaming about Afghanistan". While al Qaeda suspect Mutallab was being quizzed in the US, detectives in London scoured the Westminster property they believe was his British home.

DEPARTURE POINT: Airport in Amsterdam
He is said to have lived there with relatives in an apartment on the second floor. It was the scene of intense police activity yesterday.

One local told us Mutallab and his family rented several apartments in the block and are thought to have been there since 2002. Neighbour Rebecca Pelayo, 58, said residents there were mostly "very wealthy people" who used the luxury flats as second homes.

A spokesman for nearby University College London last night said a student of Mutallab's exact name was enrolled on a course there from September 2005 to June 2008.

Although sources in the US insisted the two were the same man, a college spokesman said: "It must be stressed the university has no evidence this is the same person."

Mutallab is the son of a top Nigerian businessman who until a fortnight ago was chairman of First Bank, one of the country's largest financial groups. Alhaji Umaru Mutallab, an ex government minister, was said to have become so concerned about his son's extremist beliefs he contacted the US and Nigerian authorities six months ago.

He was said to be "devastated" yesterday and was surprised Umar was issued with a visa for the US after his concerns were raised. He added his son had not lived in London "for some time" but believed he "might have been to Yemen".

Reports in Nigeria claimed Mutallab had been noted for extreme views on religion since schooldays, preaching Islam to his classmates.

Mutallab, who attended a British school in Lome, Togo, was even nick-named "The Pope" by classmates because of his pious, clean- living ways, his ex teacher Michael Rimmer told Five Live last night.

DETROIT MAYHEM: A security worker enters jet
The attack brought back chilling memories of British shoebomber Richard Reid who tried to destroy a transatlantic flight eight years ago.

Mutallab reportedly confessed to the FBI that he was acting on the orders of al Qaeda - on a "mission to bring down a jet on US soil". He was said to have told investigators he had explosive powder, supplied to him in Yemen, taped to his leg and had used the syringe of chemicals to mix with it to create an explosion. US officials said the bomb was a "fairly sophisticated device" which, alarmingly, they have never encountered before.

Representative Peter King of New York, senior Republican on the House of Representatives Homeland Security Committee, said: "My understanding is the suspect does have al Qaeda connections and his name popped up pretty quickly. This could have been catastrophic. I would say we dropped the ball."

UK LINK: Cops raid London home
Dutch authorities said Abdul Mutallab was flying on a one-way ticket from Lagos to Detroit and had passed through security checks at Schiphol airport in transit.

But Dutch counter-terrorism agency NCTb said they could not rule out the possibility of dangerous items getting on board - "especially objects difficult to detect with current security technology such as metal detectors".

A meeting of COBRA, the British Government's emergency committee, was held yesterday morning and the UK state of alert is now likely to go from substantial to severe over the next 48 hours.

PM Gordon Brown said: "We will continue to take whatever action is necessary to protect passengers on airlines and the public."

No comments:

Post a Comment