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'Underwear bomber' pleads guilty

TERRORISM: Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, who stands accused of trying to take down a US-bound flight in 2009, is said to have changed his plea to guilty

A MAN accused of trying to take down a US-bound plane by detonating explosives stored in his underwear, has sensationally changed his plea to guilty.

Lawyers for Nigerian-born, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, told a Detroit court moments ago (Oct 12) that the 24-year-old now wished to retract his not guilty plea for the 2009 incident.

Abdulmutallab, who claimed he was working on behalf of terrorist group, al Qaeda, was badly burned when a bomb sewn into his underwear caught fire, prosecutors say.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan Tukel said that Abdulmutallab, the son of a wealthy Nigerian banker, believed his calling on December 25, 2009, was martyrdom.

"He was preparing to die and enter heaven," Tukel said in his opening statement yesterday, the first day of the two-day trial.

"He purified himself. He washed. He brushed his teeth. He put on perfume," he added.

The former engineering student faces a series of charges, including conspiracy to commit terrorism and the attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction.

If convicted, he faces a lifelong prison sentence.

The trial continues.

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