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Nigerian facing life in jail on air bomb charge

A Nigerian man accused of trying to blow up a Northwest Airlines flight has been indicted.

The charges include attempted murder and trying to use a weapon of mass destruction to kill nearly 300 people.

Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab (23) tried to destroy the plane -- which was bound from Amsterdam to Detroit on Christmas Day -- by injecting chemicals into a package of pentrite explosive concealed in his underwear, authorities said.

The failed attack caused popping sounds and flames that passengers and crew rushed to extinguish.

The bomb was designed to detonate "at a time of his choosing", the grand jury's indictment said.

There is no specific mention of terrorism in the seven-page indictment.

But trying to use a weapon of mass destruction is a terrorism charge, US Attorney Barbara McQuade said.

President Barack Obama considers the incident an attempted strike against the US by an affiliate of al-Qaida.

US investigators said Abdulmutallab told them he received training and instructions from al-Qa'ida operatives in Yemen.

Mr Abdulmutallab faces up to life in prison if convicted of attempting to use a bomb on the plane. He is being held at a federal prison in Michigan.

He will make his first appearance in federal court on Friday for an arraignment and a hearing to determine if he stays in custody.