DETROIT, Dec. 25 (UPI) -- A Nigerian man claiming ties to al-Qaida allegedly tried to ignite an explosive device on a Northwest flight in what the White House called attempted terrorism.
The 23-year-old man, identified by authorities as Abdul Farouk Abdulmutallab, was taken into custody Friday and has told investigators he was linked to al-Qaida and wanted to set off a bomb over the United States, MSNBC reported. A senior intelligence official said the man is on the no-fly list of the United States.
Officials said the device, which contained powder and liquid, failed to detonate fully, The New York Times reported. Passengers on the flight said they heard popping sounds that resembled firecracker noises.
U.S. officials said the Abdulmutallab intended to bring the plane down, the Times reported.
Susan Elliott, a spokeswoman for Northwest Airlines' parent company, Delta Airlines, said the passenger tried to ignite the device in the cabin of the Northwest Airbus 330 at the end of the Amsterdam-to-Detroit flight with 278 passengers on board.
Two passengers noticed the attempt and a third jumped on the man, subduing him, NBC News said.
A White House official who asked not to be identified said the incident was an attempted act of terrorism, The New York Times reported. The FBI is investigating the incident and President Barack Obama -- who is celebrating Christmas in Hawaii -- has been briefed on the matter, government officials told The Washington Post.
The president has ordered that measures be implemented to step up airline travel security but a White House spokesman said the government was not prepared to elevate the official terrorism alert to a higher status, the Post said.
The Department of Homeland Security issued a statement Friday saying DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano "is closely monitoring the situation."
"Passengers may notice additional screening measures put into place to ensure the safety of the traveling public on domestic and international flights." The statement said. "As always we encourage the traveling public to be observant and aware of their surroundings and report any suspicious behavior or activity to law enforcement officials."
The incident resulted in only minor injuries, with one person taken to the University of Michigan Medical Center in Ann Arbor, CNN said. Police said the man suffered second-degree burns, consistent with small fireworks.
Hospital spokeswoman Tracy Justice was not sure if the injured person was the Nigerian or one of the others on the plane, the Detroit Free Press reported.