al-awalaki-abdulmutallab-New York daily times

By Victor Ernest

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The New York Times has obtained a document which gives detailed account of how Farouk Abdulmutallab, who attempted to blow up a US-bound plane on Christmas day in 2009, became a terrorist.

The 200-page document which was obtained after two years of legal battle between New York Times and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), recorded the series of interview Abdulmutallab had with the FBI.

His First Encounter

It recorded how he first encountered an American-born Islamic cleric, the slain Anwar al-Awlaki, through a recorded lecture he bought from an islamic store in the United Kingdom in 2005.

He disclosed to the FBI agents that he became enamored by the teachings of Al-Awkali which consequently made him to travel to Yemen to meet  him, who then had fully embraced violence and was a rising Al Qaeda leader.

Religious hero to jihadist

From then, al-Awkali transcended from being his religious hero into his tutor on how to become a jihadist.

Abdulmutallab also said the cleric did not only oversee his training in Yemen, but also conceived the plot leading to the failed bomb attack.

According to the documents, Abdulmutallab described every person he remembered meeting from Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, as the Yemen branch of the terrorist group is known.

He also provided agents with a vivid description of the layout of training camps, al-Awlaki’s house and many other Qaeda buildings.

According to the New York Times, his descriptions were so precise that they may have aided the USin its drone campaign in Yemen.

He said al-Awlaki, who was called “sheikh” out of respect, introduced him to other Al Qaeda trainers and bomb makers.

The American born Nigerian, Abdulmutallab, told the FBI how Al-Awlaki taught him how to prepare a martydom video, advising him to “keep it short and reference the Quran.”

The mission

The document also has it that Al-Awkali told Abdulmutallab to hide his trail by first travelling from Yemen to an African country before booking the flight on which he would detonate the bomb.

Abdulmutallab flew from Nigeria to Amsterdam before joining Northwest Airlines Flight 253 to Detroit, US

He said the choice of the date for the attack had no special significance and was mainly dictated by ticket prices and flight schedules.

Before he departed, al-Awlaki sent him a final reminder: “Wait until you are in the US, then bring the plane down.”

He said he followed the progress of the flight on the seat-back screen. He waited until he approached the US border and went to the plane’s bathroom to make final preparations for the attack.

Mission impossible

He thought of detonating the bomb in the bathroom but wanted to be certain that he was doing so over US soil, so he returned to his seat to check the map for a final time before igniting the explosives.

The bomb did not explode but let out a flame. As he tried to get his burning pants off, passengers pounced on him. One passenger punched him and a crew member threatened to throw him out of the plane.

He was then sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole in America after a defiant guilty plea.