The Nigerian national, arrested on charges of "attempted act of terrorism" in a Detroit bound plane, has told interrogators that explosive powder was taped to his leg and he used a syringe to mix chemicals with it to cause an explosion.
The 23-year-old man, identified as Umar Farouk Abdul Mutallab, said the device was "more incendiary than explosive," and that he had tried to ignite the device or mixture to cause a fire as the plane was approaching Detroit, a senior official from the Department of Homeland Security was quoted as saying by the New York Times.
Mutallab told the law enforcement authorities that he had explosive powder taped to his leg and that he used a syringe full of chemicals to mix with the powder to try to cause an explosion, the daily reported. The device, however, failed to fully detonate.
The Nigerian national, according to fellow passengers and investigating agencies, tried to ignite a small explosive 20-30 minutes before the Northwest Airline flight 253 carrying 278 passengers was about to land at the Detroit airport. Overpowered by fellow passengers and handed over to security agencies on landing, he was being questioned by the FBI on how he managed to breach the tight security and sneak in explosive inside the plane and his links with Al-Qaeda.
The plane originated in Nigeria, but had its stop in Amsterdam. Initial report said Mutallab, who has also revealed about his al-Qaeda links, was put on the watch list by the US but was not debarred from entering the country.