Police in Oregon have arrested a Somali Muslim teen for attempting to blow up a Christmas tree lighting ceremony.
19-year-old Mohamed Osman Mohamud, a naturalized US citizen of Somaili descent, had been under FBI surveillance since beginning e-mail correspondence with an unnamed Al Queda terrorist leader in Pakistan during the Summer of 2009. After discussing ways to conduct jihad in America, Mohamud got a contact in America from the Pakistan source to carry out the plot, reports The UK Telegraph, but was never able to reach the American source.
CNN reports Mohamed had been using the wrong e-mail address to contact his American counterpart.
Smelling a live one, FBI agents contacted Mohamud via e-mail last June posing as an ally of the Pakistani contact. During a personal meeting with the FBI agent a month later, Mohamud said he had published several articles in Jihad Recollections, a website advocating violence against non-Muslims, and had wanted to wage a “holy war” against “infidels” since the age of 15.
Mohamud told the FBI agent he had identified the annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony in Portland’s Pioneer Courthouse Square as a good target. When cautioned by the agent several times against the plot, noting small children could be hurt or killed in such an attack, Mohamud said he wass looking for a “huge mass that will … be attacked in their own element with their families celebrating the holidays,” court documents said.
FBI agents then provided Mohamud with a dummy explosive that would never have gone off, reports Bloomberg.com. After successfully attempting to ignite the package early Saturday morning, he was arrested.
Mohamud has been charged with attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of life in prison plus a US$250,000 fine.