An attempted terrorist attack on a Christmas Day flight to Detroit began with a pop and a puff of smoke — sending passengers scrambling to subdue a Nigerian man who claimed to be acting on orders from al-Qaida to blow up the airliner. Northwest Airlines Flight 253, carrying 278 passengers and 11 crew members from Amsterdam, was preparing to land at Detroit Metro when travelers said they smelled smoke, saw a glow, and heard what sounded like firecrackers.
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