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Attempted Bombing of Northwest Airlines Flight 253 on December 25, 2009


A would-be-bomber attempted to detonate a bomb during a flight from Amsterdam to Detroit on Christmas Day, 2009. This act of terrorism as already had an impact on air travel, affecting all flights to the United States. A brief summary of the event that has led to some substantial changes in airport security screening procedures.

When? December 25, 2009

Who was involved? A young Nigerian man, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, who was supposedly on the watch list but not the no fly list. The would-be-bomber is thought to have links with al Qaeda. When he attempted to detonate the bomb, passengers and crew swarmed in and extinguished any chance of damage or threat to the plane and the hundreds of people on board.

What happened? Delta Airlines released this statement about the flight - "Upon approach to Detroit, a passenger caused a disturbance onboard Northwest Airlines Flight 253. The passenger was subdued immediately and the crew requested that law enforcement meet the flight upon arrival. The flight, operated by Northwest using an Airbus 330-300 aircraft with 278 passengers onboard, landed safely. The passenger was taken into custody and questioned by law enforcement authorities. Delta is cooperating fully with authorities and additional questions should be directed to law enforcement officials who are leading the investigation."

Reuters reported that the bomb, which the suspect concealed in his clothing, contained Pentaerythritol Tetranitrate (PETN) and Triacetone Triperoxide (TATP) - highly explosive materials.

How could this breach occur? There is a lot of finger pointing going on with this one. Even President Obama has weighed in on this event, noting the failure of communication between the different agencies involved, and how this could have been prevented.

What is occurring now, in the aftermath of the attempted bombing? Security measures are in place for flights to the United States from other countries. Several countries are set to invest in full body scanners. Random enhanced screening, and compulsory enhanced screening for 14 notable countries of interest or state sponsors of terror are also in effect.
And, the suspect is in custody and is facing charges for his attempted act of terrorism.

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