DETROIT — A young Nigerian man accused of trying to bring down a jetliner with a bomb in his underwear made a defiant political outburst Tuesday, demonstrating again why his courtroom behavior will be closely watched throughout the trial where he’s representing himself.

“The mujahadeen will wipe out the U.S. — the cancer U.S.,” said Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, scowling as he referred to Muslim guerrilla fighters.

When marshals removed his handcuffs, he also claimed that a radical Muslim cleric killed last week by the American military is still alive.

Virtually everyone aboard Northwest Airlines Flight 253 had holiday plans, but Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab believed his calling was martyrdom, Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan Tukel said. The bomb didn’t work as planned but Abdulmutallab was engulfed in flames, said Tukel, who displayed the flight’s seating chart on a screen to show jurors where things happened on the plane.

The government says he told FBI agents he was working for al Qaida and directed by Anwar al-Alwaki, a radical, American-born Muslim cleric recently killed by the U.S. in Yemen. There are photos of his scorched shorts as well as video of Abdulmutallab explaining his suicide mission before departing for the U.S.

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