DETROIT — A Nigerian man accused of trying to blow up a Detroit-bound Northwest Airlines flight on Christmas Day was indicted Wednesday on charges including attempted murder and trying to use a weapon of mass destruction to kill nearly 300 people.
Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, 23, was traveling from Amsterdam when he tried to destroy the plane by injecting chemicals into a package of pentrite explosive concealed in his underwear, authorities say. The failed attack caused popping sounds and flames that passengers and crew rushed to extinguish.
The bomb was designed to detonate "at a time of his choosing," the grand jury's indictment said. There is no specific mention of terrorism in the seven-page indictment.
Abdulmutallab has told U.S. investigators he received training and instructions from al-Qaida operatives in Yemen. His father warned the U.S. Embassy in Nigeria that his son had drifted into extremism in Yemen, but that threat was never fully investigated by the U.S. security apparatus.
Abdulmutallab faces up to life in prison if convicted of attempting to use a bomb on the plane. He is being held at a federal prison in Milan, Mich.
He is scheduled to make his first appearance in federal court on Friday for an arraignment and a hearing to determine if he stays in custody.
"Short of actual murder, these are some of the most serious charges in the criminal code," said Lloyd Meyer, a former terrorism prosecutor at U.S. war crimes tribunals at the Guantanamo Bay prison. "These charges are tailored to the facts of what happened over the sky in Detroit."