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'Underwear bomb' suspect launches into anti-U.S. rant in court

From Laura Dolan, CNN
updated 11:55 AM EDT, Tue October 4, 2011
In this artist's sketch, Nigerian bombing suspect Umar Farouk AbdulMutallab appears in a Detroit court on January 8, 2010.
In this artist's sketch, Nigerian bombing suspect Umar Farouk AbdulMutallab appears in a Detroit court on January 8, 2010.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: AbdulMutallab shouts, "The mujahideen will wipe out the U.S., the cancer!"
  • He has pleaded not guilty to the charges in the Christmas Day 2009 incident
  • Jury selection is under way, with trial expected to start next week
  • AbdulMutallab has said he will represent himself

Detroit (CNN) -- The man accused of trying to blow up a commercial flight with a bomb hidden in his underwear entered court Tuesday shouting anti-American statements and claiming that Anwar al-Awlaki, a U.S. citizen and accused terrorist who was killed in a drone attack in Yemen, is still alive.

"Anwar is alive!" he yelled. "The mujahideen will wipe out the U.S., the cancer!"

Jury selection began Tuesday in the trial of Umar Farouq AbdulMutallab, the Nigerian man who is accused of trying to detonate an explosive device aboard a Christmas Day 2009 flight to Detroit.

AbdulMutallab has said he will represent himself in the trial in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, expected to begin October 11.

Wearing a white prison T-shirt and a black cap, AbdulMutallab said he had instead wanted to wear "a Yemeni belt with a dagger" when asked by U.S. District Judge Nancy Edmunds why he wasn't dressed more appropriately.

AbdulMutallab has been indicted on charges that include attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction, conspiracy to commit an act of terrorism and possession of a firearm or destructive device in furtherance of an act of violence.

He has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

He was a passenger on Northwest Airlines Flight 253 en route from the Netherlands to Detroit on Christmas Day 2009.

According to an indictment, he went to the bathroom shortly before the plane was to land.

When he returned to his seat, he said his stomach was upset and pulled a blanket over himself.

Prosecutors allege he then tried to ignite an explosive device that was hidden in his underwear.

Passengers and flight crew members subdued him. U.S. officials say the terror group al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula was behind the alleged bombing attempt.

During a pre-trial hearing last month meant to introduce him to 250 prospective jurors, AbdulMutallab said "Osama's alive."

Osama bin Laden, the former al Qaeda leader, was killed in May during a U.S. raid on his compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan.

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