Cops probe shoe bomb link

Possible connection?: Last Thursday’s world news headline about an al-Qaeda ‘Malaysian plan’.

Possible connection?: Last Thursday’s world news headline about an al-Qaeda ‘Malaysian plan’.

PETALING JAYA: Police are investigating the identity of a Malaysian pilot supposedly connected to a convicted British shoe bomber and if he was connected to the missing MH370 aircraft.

Police sources said they were looking into the possibility that the co-conspirator of a December 2001 plot to bomb US airliners might be involved in the case of the missing Malaysia Airlines plane.

“We are looking into several possibilities, including the connection between the bomber and the missing flight,” a police source told The Star.

Saajid Badat testified at the trial in New York last week of Osama bin Laden’s son-in-law Sulaiman Abu Ghaith that a Malaysian pilot forced his way into an airline cockpit in 2001.

He told the court that several Malaysians had been planning to hijack a plane and had obtained a bomb in a shoe to blow open the cockpit door.

He described the Malaysians as “their own group of four to five individuals, including a pilot”.

Saajid also told the court he believed the Malaysians were “ready to perform an act”.

He said that during a meeting with the Malaysians, the possibility of the cockpit door being locked was brought up.

“So I said, ‘How about I give you one of my bombs to open a cockpit door?’” Saajid told the court.

He said he travelled from Afghanistan to Pakistan in December 2001 with fellow Briton and shoe bomber Richard Reid, several Malay­sians and a Mauritanian family.

He claimed that he and Reid were ordered by al-Qaeda leaders to blow two US airliners out of the sky with bombs hidden in their shoes.

Saajid was sentenced in 2005 to 13 years in jail as a co-conspirator in the plot to bomb US airliners.