Terrorist charged in Michigan federal court for Christmas Day bomb plot

A grand jury today formally indicted a 23-year-old Nigerian national suspected in the attempted Christmas Day bombing of a Northwest Airlines airplane as it neared the Detroit airport.

Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab was indicted on six counts, including attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction and attempted murder within the special aircraft jurisdiction of the United States. If convicted, Abdulmutallab faces life in prison.

Federal authorities say Abdulmutallab tried to destroy Northwest Airlines flight 253 from Amsterdam as it prepared to land at the Detroit Metropolitan Airport. Abdulmutallab tried to ignite an explosive device concealed in his underwear that contained pentaerythritol, also known as PETN, according to prosecutors.

“The charges that Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab faces could imprison him for life,” Attorney General Eric Holder said in a statement. “This investigation is fast-paced, global and ongoing, and it has already yielded valuable intelligence that we will follow wherever it leads. Anyone we find responsible for this alleged attack will be brought to justice using every tool – military or judicial – available to our government.”

“The attempted murder of 289 innocent people merits the most serious charges available, and that’s what we have charged in this indictment,” U.S. Attorney Barbara L. McQuade, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan said in a statement.

Passengers on board the flight subdued Abdulmutallab after he detonated the bomb.

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