Why Underwear Bomber Flew to Detroit: Cheap Fares

Shows break from bin Laden's love of symbolic targets
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 24, 2011 6:49 AM CDT
Underwear Bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab Chose Detroit Flight Because It Was Cheap
The Detroit metropolitan airport terminal is seen in Romulus, Mich., Friday, Dec. 25, 2009.   (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

With 25% of its own residents fleeing Detroit, it might seem like the would-be underwear bomber could have picked a more devastating US target than Motor City. But, as the AP has learned, airplane tickets to considered destinations Chicago or Houston were just too darn expensive, so Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab plunked down a more modest $2,831 on a round-trip to Detroit.

The mentality shows al-Qaeda in Yemen's philosophical break from Osama bin Laden's penchant for striking symbolic targets—it's not so much what is hit, as the fact that a hit is carried out. Last year's attempted cargo plane attack, in which the target cities also didn't matter, underscored that strategy, and it's helped al-Qaeda in Yemen become a top threat to the US. Click for more details. (More underwear bomber stories.)

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