(CNN) - President Barack Obama warned Monday that the United States would respond aggressively to terrorism such as last week's botched attempt to blow up a U.S. airliner.
"Those who would slaughter innocent men, women and children must know theUnited States will do more than simply strengthen our defenses," Obama told reporters in a break from his Christmas vacation in Hawaii.
The incident on Christmas Day aboard a Northwest Airlines flight making its final approach to the Detroit, Michigan, metropolitan airport was a reminder to the nation of the dangers posed by terrorists, Obama said in his brief remarks.
A 23-year-old Nigerian allegedly attempted to detonate explosives hidden in his underwear, setting off a fire at his seat on the flight from Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
Obama said courageous actions by other passengers and crew members helped avert a disaster, and he outlined steps including reviews of passenger screening procedures and terrorism watch lists for air travel as a response.
"We are doing everything in our power to keep you and your families safe and secure during this busy holiday season," Obama said in a bid to reassure U.S. air travelers shaken by the incident.