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Dutch call bomb preparation 'fairly professional'

THE HAGUE, Netherlands - The attempt to blow up a Northwest Airlines flight over Detroit had "fairly professional," preparation, but "amateurish" execution, a Dutch minister told parliament Wednesday.

In a letter, Interior Minister Guusie ter Horst detailed the investigation into the Christmas Day incident and said that the government plans to begin using full body scans in security at the nation's main airport to thwart this type of bomb.

In a news conference Ter Horst outlined a her government's probe into how Nigerian Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, 23, managed to board a Northwest Airlines flight to Detroit from Nigeria by way of Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport.

Abdulmutallab, is charged in the United States with smuggling explosives onto Northwest Airlines Flight 253 from Schiphol Airport and trying to blow up the plane as it prepared to land. Passengers and crew subdued him as he tried to ignite the explosives packed into his underpants.

The Dutch investigation indicated that all security checks were correctly carried out in Amsterdam before the flight left, and American authorities cleared the passenger list that included Abdulmutallab's name, ter Horst said.

Ter Horst said the new full-body wave scanners are able to alert officials to foreign non-metal objects in and around the body, so that a full body search can take place.

She conceded this would pose privacy issues, but said this needed to be balanced against the safety of passengers.

Abdulmutallab was travelling on an Italian passport and spent several hours in the airport lounge before boarding the jet.

Dutch agents are studying CCTV footage at the airport in a bid to find the plotters after an al Qaeda group based in Yemen claimed responsibility for the failed blast, Sky News reported.

The devices will be installed at Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport within three weeks, Ter Horst said during the news conference in The Hague.

Ter Horst branded the attempted attack "amateurish" but added: "It is not exaggerating to say the world has escaped a disaster."

With the Associated Press, Sky News and Bloomberg News


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