Terror plot suspect arrested in New York

 

An "al-Qa'ida sympathiser" accused of plotting to bomb police and post offices in New York City as well as US troops returning home has been arrested on numerous terrorism-related charges.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced at a news conference the arrest of Jose Pimentel of Manhattan, "a 27-year-old al-Qa'ida sympathiser" who the mayor said was motivated by terrorist propaganda and resentment of US troops in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said police had to move quickly to arrest Pimentel on Saturday because he was ready to carry out his plan.

"We had to act quickly yesterday because he was in fact putting this bomb together. He was drilling holes and it would have been not appropriate for us to let him walk out the door with that bomb," Mr Kelly said.

The police commissioner said Pimentel was energised and motivated to carry out his plan by the September 30 killing of al Qaida's US-born cleric Anwar al-Awlaki.

"He decided to build the bomb August of this year, but clearly he jacked up his speed after the elimination of al-Awlaki," Mr Kelly said.

Ten years after 9/11, New York remains a prime terrorism target. Mr Bloomberg said at least 13 terrorist plots have targeted the city since the September 11 attacks.

No attack has been successful. Pakistani immigrant Faisal Shahzad is serving a life sentence for trying to detonate a car bomb in Times Square in May 2010.

Pimentel, a US citizen originally from the Dominican Republic, Pimentel was "plotting to bomb police patrol cars and also postal facilities as well as targeted members of our armed services returning from abroad", Mr Bloomberg said.

He was under surveillance by New York police for at least a year who were working with a confidential informant and was in the process of building a bomb; no injury to anyone or damage to property is alleged, Mr Kelly said.

In addition, authorities have no evidence that Pimentel was working with anyone else, the mayor said.

"He appears to be a total lone wolf," the mayor said. "He was not part of a larger conspiracy emanating from abroad."

Instead, Mr Bloomberg said, Pimentel represents the type of threat FBI Director Robert Mueller has warned about as US forces erode the ability of terrorists to carry out large scale attacks.

Pimentel, also known as Muhammad Yusuf, is accused of having an explosive substance on Saturday when he was arrested that he planned to use against others and property to terrorise the public.

The charges accuse him of conspiracy going back at least to October 2010, and include first-degree criminal possession of a weapon as a crime of terrorism, and soliciting support for a terrorist act. He was ordered held without bail at his arraignment late yesterday.

"This is just another example of New York City because we are an iconic city ... this is a city that people would want to take away our freedoms gravitate to and focus on," Mr Bloomberg said.

Mr Kelly said a confidential informant had numerous conversations with Pimentel on September 7 in which he expressed interest in building small bombs and targeting banks, government and police buildings.

Pimentel also posted on his website trueislam1.com and on blogs his support of al Qaida and belief in jihad, and promoted an online magazine article that described in detail how to make a bomb, Mr Kelly said.

Among his internet postings, the commissioner said, was an article that states: "People have to understand that America and its allies are all legitimate targets in warfare."

The New York Police Department's Intelligence Division was involved in the arrest. Mr Kelly said Pimentel spent most of his years in Manhattan and lived about five years in Schenectady.

He said police in Albany tipped New York City police off to Pimentel's activities.

Asked why federal authorities were not involved in the case, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr said there was communication with them but his office felt that given the timeline "it was appropriate to proceed under state charges".

About 1,000 of the city's roughly 35,000 officers are assigned each day to counterterrorism operations.

The NYPD also sends officers overseas to report on how other cities deal with terrorism. Through federal grants and city funding, the NYPD has spent millions of dollars on technology to outfit the department with the latest tools - from portable radiation detectors to the network of hundreds of cameras that can track suspicious activity.

AP

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Account Manager / Media Sales - OTE up to £30,000

£20000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This award-winning company, whi...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Software Developer

£40000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a unique & exciting opp...

Recruitment Genius: UX Consultant

£35000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: You will be working with a 8 st...

Recruitment Genius: Part-time Editor

£8000 - £12000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A unique opportunity has arisen ...

Day In a Page

A groundbreaking study of 'Britain's Atlantis' long buried at the bottom of the North Sea could revolutionise how we see our prehistoric past

Britain's Atlantis

Scientific study beneath North Sea could revolutionise how we see the past
The Queen has 'done and said nothing that anybody will remember,' says Starkey

The Queen has 'done and said nothing that anybody will remember'

David Starkey's assessment
Oliver Sacks said his life has been 'an enormous privilege and adventure'

'An enormous privilege and adventure'

Oliver Sacks writing about his life
'Gibraltar is British, and it is going to stay British forever'

'Gibraltar is British, and it is going to stay British forever'

The Rock's Chief Minister hits back at Spanish government's 'lies'
Britain is still addicted to 'dirty coal'

Britain still addicted to 'dirty' coal

Biggest energy suppliers are more dependent on fossil fuel than a decade ago
Orthorexia nervosa: How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition

Orthorexia nervosa

How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition
Lady Chatterley is not obscene, says TV director

Lady Chatterley’s Lover

Director Jed Mercurio on why DH Lawrence's novel 'is not an obscene story'
Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests

Set a pest to catch a pest

Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests
Mexico: A culture that celebrates darkness as an essential part of life

The dark side of Mexico

A culture that celebrates darkness as an essential part of life
Being sexually assaulted was not your fault, Chrissie Hynde. Don't tell other victims it was theirs

Being sexually assaulted was not your fault, Chrissie Hynde

Please don't tell other victims it was theirs
A nap a day could save your life - and here's why

A nap a day could save your life

A midday nap is 'associated with reduced blood pressure'
If men are so obsessed by sex, why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?

If men are so obsessed by sex...

...why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?
The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3

Jon Thoday and Richard Allen-Turner

The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3
The bathing machine is back... but with a difference

Rolling in the deep

The bathing machine is back but with a difference
Part-privatised tests, new age limits, driverless cars: Tories plot motoring revolution

Conservatives plot a motoring revolution

Draft report reveals biggest reform to regulations since driving test introduced in 1935