PORTLAND, Ore. – Federal agents in a sting operation arrested a Somali-born teenager just as he tried blowing up a van he believed was loaded with explosives at a crowded Christmas tree lighting ceremony in Portland, authorities said.
The bomb was an elaborate fake supplied by the agents and the public was never in danger, authorities said.
Mohamed Osman Mohamud, 19, was arrested at 5:40 p.m. Friday just after he dialed a cell phone that he thought would set off the blast but instead brought federal agents and police swooping down on him.
Yelling “Allahu Akbar!” — Arabic for “God is great!” — Mohamud tried to kick agents and police after he was taken into custody, according to prosecutors.
“The threat was very real,” said Arthur Balizan, special agent in charge of the FBI in Oregon. “Our investigation shows that Mohamud was absolutely committed to carrying out an attack on a very grand scale,”
A law enforcement official, who was not authorized to discuss the investigation publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity, told The Associated Press on Saturday that federal agents began investigating the suspect after receiving a tip from someone who was concerned about the teenager.
The FBI affidavit that outlined the investigation alleges that Mohamud planned the attack for months, at one point mailing bomb components to FBI operatives, whom he believed were assembling the device.
According to the official, Mohamud hatched the plan on his own and without any instruction from a foreign terrorist organization, and he planned the details, including where to park the van for the maximum number of casualties.
The affidavit said Mohamud was warned several times about the seriousness of his plan, that women and children could be killed, and that he could back out, but he told agents: “Since I was 15 I thought about all this;” and “It’s gonna be a fireworks show … a spectacular show.”
Mohamud, a naturalized U.S. citizen living in Corvallis, was charged with attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction, which carries a maximum sentence of life in prison. A court appearance was set for Monday. Few details were available about him late Friday.
Authorities allowed the plot to proceed in order to build up enough evidence to charge the suspect with attempt.
Officials didn’t say if the suspect had any ties to other Americans recently accused of trying to carry out attacks on U.S. soil, including alleged efforts in May by a Pakistan-born man to set off a car bomb near Times Square or another Pakistan-born Virginia resident accused last month in a bomb plot to kill commuters.
U.S. Attorney Dwight Holton released federal court documents to The Associated Press and the Oregonian newspaper that show the sting operation began in June after an undercover agent learned that Mohamud had been in regular e-mail contact with an “unindicted associate” in Pakistan’s northwest, a frontier region where al-Qaida and Afghanistan’s Taliban insurgents are strong.
The two used coded language in which the FBI believes Mohamud discussed traveling to Pakistan to prepare for “violent jihad,” the documents said.
In June an FBI agent contacted Mohamud “under the guise of being affiliated with” the suspected terrorist. But the documents did not say how federal officials first became aware of Mohamud.
An undercover agent met with him a month later in Portland, where they “discussed violent jihad,” according to the court documents.
As a trial run, Mohamud and agents detonated a bomb in Oregon’s backcounry earlier this month.
“This defendant’s chilling determination is a stark reminder that there are people — even here in Oregon — who are determined to kill Americans,” Holton said.
Friday, an agent and Mohamud drove to downtown Portland in a white van that carried six 55-gallon drums with detonation cords and plastic caps, but all of them were inert, the complaint states.
They left the van near the downtown ceremony site and went to a train station where Mohamud was given a cell phone that he thought would blow up the vehicle, according to the complaint. There was no detonation when he dialed, and when he tried again federal agents and police made their move.
Omar Jamal, first secretary to the Somali mission to the United Nations, condemned the plot and urged Somalis to cooperate with police and the FBI.
“Talk to them and tell them what you know so we can all be safe,” Jamal said.
Somalia Foreign Minister Mohamed Abullahi Omaar said his government is “ready and willing” to offer the U.S. any assistance it may need to prevent similar attempts. He said the attempt in Portland was a tragedy for Mohamud’s family and the “people he tried to harm.”
“Mohamud’s attempt is neither representative nor an example of Somalis. Somalis are peace loving people,” said Omaar, whose government is holed up in a few blocks of the capital, Mogadishu, while much of the country’s southern and central regions are ruled by Islamist insurgents.
Tens of thousands of Somalis have resettled in the United States since their country plunged into lawlessness in 1991, and the U.S. has boosted aid to the country.
In August, the U.S. Justice Department unsealed an indictment naming 14 people accused of being a deadly pipeline routing money and fighters from the U.S. to al-Shabab, an al-Qaida affiliated group in Mohamud’s native Somalia,
At the time, Attorney General Eric Holder said the indictments reflect a disturbing trend of recruitment efforts targeting U.S. residents to become terrorists.
Officials have been working with Muslim community leaders across the United States, particularly in Somali diasporas in Minnesota, trying to combat the radicalization.
side note, “somalis are a peace loving people?” they turned thier nation into a murderous bloodbath thats still ruled by danger death and chaos. its a little hard to swallow.
and the galling thing is this little turd came here at our largesse and took our hospitality and shit on it.
this is the thanks we get for letting these “refugees” settle in peace here in the states after they turned thier own nation into a toilet?bringing his barbarity here?
talk about biting the hand that feeds you. put this rabid dog down.
and as for the other thousands of somalis working in our AIRPORTS WITHOUT DAILY PATDOWNS someone better wake up.
A parable of what the west has in store for it for allowing muslim immigration:
A young girl was trudging along a mountain path, trying to reach her grandmother’s house.
It was bitter cold, and the wind cut like a knife.
When she was within sight of her destination, she heard a rustle at her feet.
Looking down, she saw a snake.
Before she could move, the snake spoke to her.
He said, “I am about to die.
It is too cold for me up here, and I am freezing.
There is no food in these mountains, and I am starving.
Please put me under your coat and take me with you.”
“No,” replied the girl. “I know your kind. You are a rattlesnake.
If I pick you up, you will bite me, and your bite is poisonous.”
“No, no,” said the snake. “If you help me, you will be my best friend.
I will treat you differently.”
The little girl sat down on a rock for a moment to rest and think things over.
She looked at the beautiful markings on the snake and had to admit that it was the most beautiful snake she had ever seen.
Suddenly, she said, “I believe you. I will save you.
All living things deserve to be treated with kindness.”
The little girl reached over, put the snake gently under her coat and proceeded toward her grandmother’s house.
Within a moment, she felt a sharp pain in her side.
The snake had bitten her.
“How could you do this to me?” she cried.
“You promised that you would not bite me, and I trusted you!”
“You knew what I was when you picked me up,” hissed the snake as he slithered away.
chritmas tree bomber was a young male muslim, could there be a pattern? Peter Wilson
On Friday a 19-year old man attempted to detonate a bomb in a crowd that had gathered for the annual Christmas tree lighting in Portland, Oregon. It is depressingly predictable that he was a another young Muslim male terrorist, a Somali named Mohamed Osman Mohamud..It is also depressingly predictable that a section of the commentariat refuses to see any pattern here. As Derrick Jackson explains in last week’s Boston Globe column, Safer Skies? Bring on the Scanners:[T]hose today who are not willing to be scanned or complain about pat-downs, are in a fantasy world of personal entitlement. Call it the “Do-I-look-like-a-terrorist?” syndrome. It has somehow escaped the critics that you cannot judge a terrorist by last name, skin color, or gender.Who’s in the fantasy world here? Only the willfully blind can ignore that nearly every terror threat in the last forty years has come from young males with names like Mohammad Massalha (Munich massacre), Abdelbaset al-Megrahi (Lockerbie), Mohammed Atta, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab and Faisal Shahzad. The argument of people like Jackson is that once we start profiling 20-year old Somali men named Mohamed, al-Qaeda will recruit Swedish grandmothers. Maybe so, but to date this theory is not supported by any reality-based evidence.Give me your tired, your poor, your angry young Muslims yearning to kill Infidels…
The following is a quick list of known terrorists or supporters named Muhammad. Its far from complete.
Fazul Abdullah Mohammed
Mohammad Ali Elahi
Mohammed Reza Taheri-azar
Mohamed Osman Mohamud
Ali A. Mohamed
Khalid Shaikh Mohammed
John Allen Muhammad
Mohamed Mohamed Mohamud
Akram Mohammed Al-Samarra
Mohammed Abdullah Hassan Nasser
Omar Bakri Mohammed
Mohammed Sidique Khan
Mohammed Junaid Babar
Mullah Mohammed Omar
Mohammed Daoud Mohammed
Grand Ayatollah Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah
Mohamed el Amir
Mohammed Naeem Noor Khan
Mohammad abu Bakr
Fahid Mohammed Ally Msalam
Ahmed Khalid Mohammed Al-Husan
Khalid Ali Tahir Mohammed Ali
Basheir Mohammed Haroon
Amin Mohammed Abdullah
Isam Khalaf Mohammed Al-Ghamdi
Mohammed Fathi Abdulati Al-Sayyed
Mohamed Said Atom
Mohammed Jamal Khalifa
Mohammed Youssef Hammoud
Muhammad al Qahtani
Mohammed Saleh Mohammed Ali Al-Kazemi
Sheikh Mohammed Siyyam
Mohamud graduated from high school in Beaverton. In a science class, he once gave presentation on how a rocket-propelled grenade worked, NBC station KGW-TV reported.
One of Mohamud’s former classmates told KGW of an argument the pair had over a messy locker.
“The main thing was, the way he said he hated Americans,” said Andy Stull. “It was serious. He looked me in the eye and had this look in his eye, like it was his determination in life – ‘I hate Americans!’”