U.S. authorities arrest New York suspects for ISIS-inspired bomb plot

Published 17.06.2015 02:02
Updated 18.06.2015 01:47

U.S. authorities have accused a New York City college student named Munthar Omar Saleh of plotting to set off a pressure cooker bomb in the city in support of the self-proclaimed Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), according to court documents made public on Tuesday. The other suspect which was seen trying to run away with Saleh was also identified as Fareed Mumuni who admitted to working on behalf of ISIS as he was arrested in New York on Wednesday after trying to stab an FBI agent.

Saleh, 20, was arrested early on Saturday morning after he and Mumuni, 21, got out of their car and ran toward a surveillance vehicle that had been tracking their movements, according to documents filed in federal court in Brooklyn.

Mumuni was arrested at his home on Staten Island after lunging at an FBI special agent with a kitchen knife. The agent was wearing body armor and sustained only minor injuries.

A search of his mother's car, which he also used, unearthed a duffel bag containing another large kitchen knife, court papers said.

Mumuni allegedly confessed to pledging allegiance to ISIS, intending to travel to ISIS-controlled territory and to discussing how to build a pressure cooker bomb with Saleh.

He was expected to appear before a federal court in Brooklyn later Wednesday. Prosecutors will demand custody without bail. He faces a maximum sentence of 20 years if convicted.

Saleh, who allegedly translated the ISIS propaganda into English, was arrested last Saturday -- also after allegedly trying to attack a surveillance officer with a knife.

Mumuni and Saleh discussed ways to attack law enforcement -- using guns and a bomb, prosecutors say.

Court papers say that Saleh also confessed to pledging allegiance to ISIS and prosecutors say his browsing history provided an alarming record of his twisted ideology.

In September 2014 he allegedly tweeted "i fear AQ (Al-Qaeda) could be getting too moderate" and this year expressed support for the gunmen who attacked the Charlie Hebdo magazine in France.

In other tweets he also praised the burning to death of a captured Jordanian pilot and the beheading of a Japanese journalist by ISIS.

On May 7, he allegedly told an informant he was "trying to do an op" -- shorthand for operation -- and emailed himself information from the Internet on how to build a pressure cooker bomb.
Prosecutors allege that Saleh and the third suspect searched online for components and tools to make a bomb, such as a pressure cooker, drill, LED light, propane and a garden hose.

At the end of May, Saleh looked up New York landmarks and tourist attractions on the Internet to assess potential targets for a bomb attack, the court papers said.

Earlier in the month he allegedly visited a "spy" store in Queens, which sells microphone detectors and hidden cameras, although he appeared to leave without purchasing anything.

He subsequently bought a digital wrist watch from another store, which the criminal complaint signed by an FBI agent, pointed out "may be used as a timer for an explosive device."

And he searched online for fire arms, knives, ammunition, masks and a bulletproof vest as well as beards and wigs, which could be fashioned into disguises.

U.S. authorities have charged a number of so-called "lone wolf" plotters in recent months who have apparently been inspired by ISIS, and authorities have said they are pursuing similar cases in all 50 states.

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