Underwear Bomber Gets Life in Failed Airline Attack

Al-QaedaAnwar al-Awlaki

WASHINGTON -- The Nigerian man convicted of trying to use a bomb hidden in his underwear to bring down a Detroit-bound airliner on Christmas Day has been sentenced to life in prison.

Authorities say Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab was traveling from Amsterdam when he tried to destroy the Northwest Airlines plane carrying nearly 300 people by injecting chemicals into a package of explosives concealed in his underwear.

The 25-year old son of a wealthy Nigerian banker, pleaded guilty in October and admitted he was on a suicide mission for al-Qaida when he tried to detonate explosive chemicals hidden in his underwear minutes before the plane landed at Detroit Metropolitan Airport.

The government says he first performed a ritual in the lavatory, brushing his teeth and perfuming himself, and returned to his seat.

The device didn't work as planned, but still produced flame, smoke and panic in the cabin.

In a defiant speech as he pleaded guilty, Abdulmutallab said he was carrying a "blessed weapon" to avenge Muslims who have been killed or poorly treated around the world. He admitted he was inspired by Anwar al-Awlaki, a radical American-born cleric and leading al-Qaida figure in Yemen who was killed by a U.S. drone strike last fall.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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Al-QaedaAnwar al-Awlaki