US & Canada

New York man arrested suspected of bomb plot

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Media captionNew York Mayor Michael Bloomberg gave details of the alleged plot

A New York man has been arrested on suspicion of planning to bomb targets including police cars and post offices.

Jose Pimentel, 27, was charged with terrorism-related offences, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg told a news conference in the city.

Mr Pimentel was a "lone wolf" inspired by al-Qaeda who also allegedly planned to target US troops returning from abroad, Mr Bloomberg said.

He is alleged to have learned bomb-making from an al-Qaeda magazine.

The man, an unemployed US citizen originally from the Dominican Republic, is also known as Muhammad Yusuf and had been under surveillance for at least a year before his arrest.

He has been charged on three terrorism-related counts and two other counts.

'Acted alone'

According to the charges, Mr Pimentel expressed support of al-Qaeda and belief in jihad in posts he wrote for a radical blog.

He allegedly found Instructions on how to build a pipe bomb from al-Qaeda's Inspire magazine, published by radical cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, who was killed by a US drone attack in Yemen in September.

Image caption Jose Pimentel has been charged with terrorism-related offences

One of the articles was entitled "How to make a bomb in the kitchen of your mom", New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said at the news conference.

Mr Pimentel spoke about "killing US servicemen returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, particularly US army and marine corps personnel", Mr Kelly said.

"He talked about bombing post offices in and around Washington Heights and police cars in New York City, as well as a police station in New Jersey," the police chief added.

Officials believe Mr Pimentel was "not part of a larger conspiracy".

But Mr Pimentel's lawyer Joseph Zablocki said that he did not believe the case against his client was a strong one.

"He [Pimentel] has this very public online profile... This is not the way you go about committing a terrorist attack," Mr Zablocki said.

The mayor also said police had constructed a duplicate of an explosive device the suspect is accused of building, before showing a videotape of it blowing up an unidentified car.

According to court documents, Mr Pimentel was videotaped as he drilled holes in three pipes - following the pipe bomb instructions outlined in the magazine article.

"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 told reporters at the news conference.

Mr Pimentel has been denied bail and is in police custody.

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