The revelation by an Al-Qaeda informer that he had met Malaysian terrorists over plans to hijack a plane has raised concerns on whether the plot is related to the loss of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370.
The informer, British-born Saajid Muhammad Badat (
) had made the claim in a New York court on Tuesday when testifying via video link in the trial of Sulaiman Abu Ghaith, Osama Bin Laden's son-in-law, according to a report by the UK's
When testifying, Saajid said four to five Malaysian men had been planning to take control of a plane by using a bomb hidden in a shoe to blow up the cockpit door.
He added that he had met the Malaysians, one of which is a pilot, in Afghanistan and given them a shoe bomb for that purpose.
According to the report, Saajid said during the trial the men had raised a problem in their plan - that the cockpit door might be locked, to which he told the court: "So I said, how about I give you one of my bombs to open a cockpit door?"
He added that the Malaysian plot was being masterminded by one Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the principal architect of the September 11, 2001 attacks – involving the use of four commercial airplanes as weapons to attack targets on US soil.
'Long time in planning'
The report did not state when the meeting took place but is believed to be before Saajid's arrest in 2003.
The UK newspaper also quoted security experts as saying that the information was "credible".
“These spectacular projects take a long time in the planning,” a British security source was quoted as saying.
The report indicated that a plane hijacking plan by Malaysian terrorists were in the works but provided no evidence where it would take place or whether it is related to Flight MH370.
MH370 which took off from Kuala Lumpur at 12.40am on March 7 and due to arrive in Beijing at 6.30am, vanished from civilian radar at 1.21am.
Military radar later picked up the aircraft off the west coast of peninsula Malaysia heading towards the Andaman waters.
Not a trace of the plane has been found as the search and rescue operation entered the ninth day today.
2001 shoe bomb plot
Saajid was part of a plot to blow up a plane with a shoe bomb in 2001 but withdrew at the last minute.
However, his co-conspirator Richard Reid (
) went ahead with the failed plan on American Airlines Flight 63 bound from Paris to Florida and was sentenced to life imprisonment.
Saajid was sentenced to 13 years in prison in 2003 after he pleaded guilty to conspiracy to destroy a US-bound aircraft.
He had since assisted US and UK authorities in their investigation against Islamist terrorists and was released from prison early in 2010.