Hunt for terror cell behind Christmas Day suicide attack as Home Secretary reveals jet bomber ‘did not act alone’

• Unlikely to be single-handed plot, says Alan Johnson
• Suspect on UK watch list after applying to bogus college
• Family warned security services two months ago
• MI5 in hunt for accomplices and links in London

by Vanessa Allen and David Williams
The Daily Mail [UK]
28th December 2009

Home Secretary Alan Johnson today declared he did not believe the Christmas Day airline bomber was acting alone.

British security services are now hunting for possible accomplices of Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab as they probe his links in the UK.

Mr Johnson said: ‘We don’t know yet whether it was a single-handed plot or (there were) other people behind it – I suspect it’s the latter rather than the former.’

The minister also confirmed this morning that Abdulmutallab had been put on a UK watch list after he was refused a student visa following an application to study at a bogus college.

He suggested the U.S. authorities should have been warned about the British ban, which was issued last May, saying he ‘doubted’ there had been any ‘hiccup’ in procedures.
‘If you are on our watch list then you do not come into this country. You can come through this country if you are in transit to another country but you cannot come into this country,’ Mr Johnson said.

The revelation will increase incredulity that the 23-year-old, who was also on a U.S. watch list, was not stopped before he boarded the Amsterdam-Detroit flight on Christmas Day.

Al Qaeda had also warned of a terror attack four days before the incident, posting a video online from Yemen saying: ‘We are carrying a bomb to hit the enemies of God.’

Abdulmutallab’s own father had become so worried about his son’s extremist behaviour that he warned security services in his home country and then in the U.S., the family have revealed.

In a statement today, they said he approached Nigerian security agencies two months ago after the 23-year-old went to study abroad and severed all ties.

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