US plane attack comes 8 years after foiled ’shoe bomber’ hit

December 26th, 2009 - 9:14 pm ICT by IANS  

By Arun Kumar
Washington, Dec 26 (IANS) The attempted attack on a Northwest Airlines flight fell almost to the day eight years after another failed solo attack on an international flight just two months after Sep 11, 2001 terror attacks.

The attacker Richard Reid attempted to detonate explosives hidden in his sneakers on an American Airlines flight from Paris to Miami. Passengers thwarted his plan and the plane landed safely in Boston, US media reports recalled.

Reid pleaded guilty to terrorism charges in October 2002 and is serving a life sentence at the nation’s super-maximum security prison in Florence, CNN said.

American Airlines Flight 63, carrying 197 people from Paris to Miami was diverted to Boston Dec 22, 2001, after passengers and crew saw Reid trying to light a fuse and subdued him by tying him to his seat. A doctor on board administered a tranquiliser.

FBI bomb technicians and explosives experts found explosives in Reid’s shoes.

Reid, a British citizen and convert to Islam, pleaded guilty to all eight counts against him including attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction, attempted homicide and placing an explosive device on an aircraft.

“At the end of the day, I know I did the actions,” Reid said when entering his plea, according to CNN. “Basically I got on a plane with a bomb. Basically I tried to ignite it.”

Previously, Reid had called himself a disciple of Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and an enemy of the US. He also said he did not recognise the US legal system.

Zacarias Moussaoui, the only person convicted in the US for his role in the Sep 11, 2001, terror attacks, said during his 2006 sentencing trial that he and Reid were supposed to be part of the attacks on US targets.

But Reid testified via a statement that although he knew Moussaoui, he knew nothing about the 2001 attacks, which killed nearly 3,000 people, CNN said.

The day before Reid went on his solo mission, he wrote a letter to his mother bequeathing his belongings to Moussaoui, casting further doubt on Moussaoui’s claim that they later intended to die together in what court documents called a “martyrdom operation”.

Moussaoui was arrested in August 2001 in Minnesota after instructors at the flight school he was attending reported he was acting suspiciously and did not have much flying experience.

Throughout his legal proceedings he repeatedly changed his story. He pleaded guilty to terrorism conspiracy and is also serving a life sentence in the Colorado prison.

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