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EYEWITNESS SAYS CHRISTMAS BOMBER DID NOT ACT ALONE
by Sharon Rondeau
(Jan. 31, 2010) — According to eyewitnesses, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the alleged Christmas Day “underwear bomber,” had an accomplice who attempted to help him board the airplane without showing a passport.
Attorney Kurt Haskell and his wife Lori were passengers on Flight 253 from Amsterdam to Detroit on December 25, 2009 when Abdulmutallab detonated explosives in an attempt to incinerate the aircraft shortly before landing in Detroit.
After the ordeal, Haskell claimed in several media interviews that he had witnessed a tall, well-dressed man accompanying Abdulmutallab to the ticket counter, trying to convince the ticket agent to allow Abdulmutallab to board the plane without documentation. Haskell and his wife stated that the suspected accomplice did not board the flight.
Haskell described the possible accomplice as a “sharp-dressed man” who “was trying to bully or convince this ticket agent she needed to let this man on.” He said he overheard the man, whom he described as wearing “an expensive suit,” tell the ticket agent, “He’s from Sudan. We do this all the time.”
Haskell, who was seated seven rows behind Abdulmutallab, heard an airline attendant say that she smelled smoke at approximately the same time that the pilot announced an impending landing in ten minutes. According to Haskell, “that’s when I saw the flames.” He said that Abdulmutallab didn’t put up much of a fight.; “two passengers jumped on him and hauled him away” after the fire quickly spread up one side of the plane. There were almost 300 passengers on the flight.
Haskell and other eyewitnesses waited approximately six hours after the plane landed to be interviewed by FBI agents after Abdulmutallab was arrested. In an interview with MLive.com, Haskell stated that after bomb-sniffing dogs reacted to a bag belonging to an Indian man on board the plane, the man, who looked to be about 30 years old, was escorted to an interrogation room and later emerged in handcuffs. Haskell claims that he was not the same individual who had allegedly tried to help Mutallab gain entry to the airplane in Amsterdam.
According to ABC News, “the accused suicide bomber told the FBI he was trained for more than a month in Yemen” to carry out the attack by smuggling explosives sewn into his underclothes on to the aircraft in order to “hit the enemies of God.”