Obama: 'We Will Not Rest' Until Perpetrators of Airline Attack Are Found

Al Qaeda claims responsibility for the botched bombing of Christmas flight.

ByABC News
December 28, 2009, 7:17 AM

WASHINGTON, Dec. 28, 2009— -- President Obama promised today that the country would "not rest until" the people behind the the plot to blow up a Northwest Airlines flight on Christmas Day were caught and brought to justice.

"We will not rest until we find all who were involved and hold them accountable," Obama, who is vacationing in Hawaii with his family, said. "This was a serious reminder of the dangers that we face and the nature of those who threaten our homeland."

"We will continue to do everything that we can to keep America safe in the new year and beyond," the president added.

Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab -- a Nigerian national who had been on the U.S. government's terrorist watch list but not on its no-fly list --- was arrested Christmas Day after authorities say he tried to ignite explosives he carried in his underwear in an attempt to destroy the Detroit-bound passenger aircraft.

Shortly before Obama vowed to go after the perpetrators of the attempt, an al Qaeda group claimed responsibility for the botched bombing.

A husband and wife who were on the flight said they saw Abdulmutallab with a wealthy looking man at the check-in gate, and said it appeared the older man was trying to help him get past security.

Kurt Haskell, a Michigan attorney who spoke with ABC News this afternoon, said the two seemed to be an incongruous pair, because Abdulmutallab looked to him like a poor teenager, not someone the other man, who he described as "Indian, but to me Indian may be Pakistani or Bangladesh or something similar," would likely be with.

FBI officials in Detroit have not commented on the couple's claim.