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Suspect in Failed US Airliner Attack Heads to Court

VOA News 08 January 2010

The lone suspect in the failed Christmas Day attempt to blow up a U.S.-bound jetliner is scheduled to make his first court appearance Friday .

U.S. prosecutors say Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab will hear the charges against him during a brief hearing in the U.S. city of Detroit.

The 23-year-old Nigerian has been charged with six criminal counts, including attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction and attempted murder.

Prosecutors say he tried to ignite explosives concealed in his underwear during a flight from Amsterdam to Detroit.

Officials say there will be increased security at the courthouse. And one Muslim group says it intends to rally in order to denounce the suspect's alleged actions.

The hearing comes one day after U.S. President Barack Obama said U.S. agencies failed to "connect and understand" intelligence that could have stopped the attempted terror attack.

President Obama said Thursday that he takes responsibility for the systems shortcomings and ordered almost a dozen changes in the way potential threats are handled.

He said the U.S. will train hundreds of additional air marshals - law enforcement officials trained to provide security on airplane flights - to help provide security.

He spoke as the White House released a summary of its preliminary review of the attempted attack. Authorities are looking into how Abdulmutallab was allegedly able to bring explosives on board and travel to the United States, even after U.S. intelligence agencies were warned about his ties to extremists.

Abdulmutallab's name was included in a broad database of individuals who are suspected of having some link to terrorism. But he was not on higher-profile watch lists that might have caught the attention of security screeners. This has raised questions about communication among government agencies and among countries.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and AFP.



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