Men arrested at NY airport intent to commit "violent acts," says complaint
Two men in the U.S. state of New Jersey who were arrested Saturday "had expressed a willingness to commit violent acts" in the United States, CNN said Sunday, citing U.S. prosecutors and a federal criminal complaint.
Mohamed Mahmoud Alessa and Carlos Eduardo Almonte, both in their twenties, were arrested at New York JFK Airport late Saturday night as they prepared to take separate flights to Egypt on their way to Somalia "to join designated foreign terrorist organization al-Shabaab and wage violent jihad," federal prosecutors were cited as saying in a statement.
The two are charged with conspiring to kill, maim and kidnap people outside the United States, according to court documents.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation reportedly received a tip regarding the men's activities in October 2006. The tip, from someone who knew the men, said, "Every time they access the Internet all they look for is all those terrorist videos... They keep saying that Americans are their enemies, that everybody other than Islamic followers are their enemies... and they all must be killed."
As part of the investigation, an undercover officer with the New York Police Department reportedly "recorded numerous meetings and conversation" with the two men, prosecutors were quoted as saying.
"During those meetings, they discussed a plan under which they would save thousands of dollars and physically condition themselves through paintball and other training, then acquire military gear and apparel for use overseas, and buy plane tickets to Egypt with the intent to travel to Somalia," says CNN.
The two are scheduled to appear Monday before a U.S. magistrate judge. If convicted, each faces a maximum sentence of life in prison.
FBI agents also reportedly raided two homes in New Jersey, and the arrests were part of an investigation known as Operation Arabian Knight.
They come a month after Faisal Shahzad, a 30-year-old Pakistani- American, was arrested in connection with a failed vehicle bomb attempt in New York's Times Square on May 1. Shahzad, who faces five counts, could be sentenced to life in prison if convicted.