Indictment

The president was speaking on how Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the Nigerian arrested over the failed bombing, was allowed past security to board the flight from Lagos via Amsterdam on Christmas Day allegedly carrying highly explosive material.

In depth

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Abdulmutallab, the Nigerian arrested over the failed bombing, was indicted by a US jury in Michigan on Wednesday on six counts including trying to detonate explosives.

The court also charged him with the attempted murder of the other 289 passengers and crew aboard the plane and attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction.

Abdulmutallab, 23, was overpowered by other passengers on the flight after setting himself and part of the cabin on fire.

Days after the attack, al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula had claimed it was behind the attempt.

International contention

International contention has been further heightened in recent days with Yemen and the UK trading accusations that each nation was the scene of Abdulmutallab's radicalisation by al-Qaeda.

Abdulmutallab spent time studying in both countries.

US authorities have already imposed stricter screening regulations for US-bound airline passengers from Yemen, Nigeria and 12 other countries, including possible full-body pat-downs, searches of carry-on bags, and full-body scanning.

But the so-called enhanced screening rules got off to a patchy start, amid complaints of delays and discrimination.

Several European governments, including Germany, France and Spain, said they were still studying the rules before implementing them.